There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind that think cranberries are just for Christmas, and the kind that have some sense. Here’s a round up of heart healthy cranberry recipes, PLUS how to how to dehydrate cranberries to make cranberry powder. Oh, one more thing – our recipe for cranberry chocolate pancakes!
Are Cranberries Heart Healthy?
Cranberries are enormously good for you. Not only are they heart healthy, but they cleanse and restore on many levels being full of phytonutrients (good parts of the berry that make you healthy).
These nutrients have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and are often used to aid in the healing of ailments like bladder infections. (Read great books like The Healing Power of Herbs, by Michael Murray, to learn more.)
Being heart healthy is just one of their good points, obviously.
Unfortunately, this berry is most often drunk after the juice has been removed from the pulp and seeds where much of the health benefits reside. The cranberry juice is then saturated with sugar, corn syrup and/or fake sugars like Sucralose (the sugar free versions).
Consuming something in its whole form is usually better and cranberries are no exception.
If we want the full heart-healthy, body-healthy benefits of cranberries, we need to eat them whole. Which is not hard to do with a few quality recipes – so stay tuned!
Heart Healthy Cranberry Recipes
The following is a short collection of heart healthy cranberry recipes of many varieties. We start with a quick tutorial on how to dehydrate cranberries.
FYI, you can process cranberries in a freeze dryer, too!
To Dehydrate Cranberries
Cranberries are a naturally dry berry, so they’re particularly suited to dehydrating.
- Knick each cranberry with a knife or otherwise pop their skins.*
- Place them onto the dehydrator trays in one layer with a bit of space between each berry. Don’t stress it – just even them out with your hand.
- Set the dehydrator to 135°F / 57°C for between 18 and 24 hours – the more whole the berry, the longer it will take.
- Allow to cool completely and store in airtight containers. Check for condensation on the sides of the containers; if some forms, place them back into the dehydrator to dry for a bit longer.
*To get this done quickly, I usually lay out the cranberries on a cookie sheet in one layer. Then, I get a cutting board of a similar size and push it down evenly until I hear/feel the berries start to pop. I try to smash them flat to create more surface area to dry. If I miss one or two cranberries, it doesn’t take long to pop them with a knife. This saves a ton of time!
The drier the cranberry, the longer it will last – which can be up to a few years in a dark, cool place!
Purposeful Pantry can teach you how to make softer cranberry snacks – like Craisins. She can also teach you every other thing you’d like to know about preserving and storing cranberries.
Some Other Helpful Berry Ideas
Make Juice with a Steam Juicer – Cranberries can be juiced with ease!
Make Cranberry Powder
You can rehydrate cranberries to make sauce for the holidays or to add to stuffing or cookies.
However, the real reason to dehydrate cranberries, in my opinion, is so that you can grind them up and make cranberry powder. To do this:
- Add 1-2 cups of dehydrated cranberries to a high-powdered blender.
- Turn the blender onto high and blend in 20-30 second bursts, scraping the sides in between. Cranberries have a lot of pectin so they can get sticky during this process. Keep the blender and the powder cooler by only blending half a minute at a time.
- Once you’ve powdered all the dehydrated cranberries, scrap out the powder onto a cookie sheet in a thin layer. If you live in a super dry climate, just let the powder air out for a few hours.
- If you live in a humid climate like mine, put the cookie sheet in the oven at its lowest temperature for about an hour. Or you can place the powder back in your dehydrator on its lowest setting.
- Allow the cranberry powder to cool and place in airtight jars with an oxygen absorber.
The cranberry powder is so easy to dump into:
You can actually use powdered cranberry to make jam, if you can believe it! To learn to make unique jams, I suggest my friend Kathie’s little book below.
You can also make cranberry sauce from dehydrated cranberries! At any rater, I love having dried cranberry powder on hand!
Hearth Healthy Cranberry Chocolate Pancakes
Cranberries integrate easily into baked goods, including these super simple cranberry chocolate pancakes. You’ve probably mixed up pancakes before and can improvise this recipe according to your taste.
However, if you’d like a general guide for tasty chocolate pancakes, here’s the following recipe.
- 1 Cup Flour
- 1 Tbsp. of Sweetener (raw sugar, monk fruit sugar, etc.)*
- 2 tsp. of Baking Powder
- 1 tsp. of Sea Salt
- 2-4 Tbsp. of Fair Trade Cocoa Powder, to taste
- 2-4 Tbsp. of Powdered Cranberry, to taste
- Mix all the dry ingredients - the flour, sweetener, baking powder, sea salt, cocoa and cranberry powder. Mix well.
- Melt the butter and add it to the mix with the milk. Stir well.
- Add the egg and stir until incorporated.
- Allow the mixture to rest while you heat a skillet on medium-low heat.
- Fry each pancake in coconut oil for crispy edges and delicious flavor.
*You can use honey or maple syrup to sweeten the pancakes by swapping it out with the sugar and adding it in with the other wet ingredients.
Heart Healthy Cranberry Recipes
The following is a smattering of some of the cranberry recipes we’ve tried this year. We hope you enjoy them, too!
How do you get your heart healthy cranberry intake up this time of year?
For more kitchen DIYs and healthy tips, be sure to check out The Homestead Kitchen chapter of our book, The Do It Yourself Homestead. With over 400 pages of homesteading advice, presented on four different levels of homesteading experience, there’s bound to be something here for you! Click below for more information! If you’d like to sample The Homestead Kitchen chapter, just send me an email through the site and I’ll set you up.