Even though cranberries are seasonal fruits, they can be enjoyed year-round if dried and stored properly.
Drying cranberries is easy. All you need to do is soak the fruit in boiling water until the skin begins to split. You then drain the fruit and toss it in light corn syrup or white sugar to reduce its tarty taste. Lastly, you put the fruit in the oven or dehydrator to dry it.
By dehydrating cranberries, you’re extending their shelf life, but that doesn’t mean they won’t spoil over time.
If you don’t want your pack of craisins to spoil, I urge you to stick around as I’m going to cover the different methods you can go about storing dried cranberries
Storing Dried Cranberries in the Pantry
If you choose to store cranberries in the pantry, you should expect them to last anywhere between 6 to 12 months.
The first step to storing dried cranberries without refrigeration is to put them inside plastic bags and then seal the bags well. Be sure to eliminate as much air as possible from the plastic bags.
Alternatively, you can put the cranberries in a mason jar. Just make sure to clean the jar before doing so.
Then, you want to grab a permanent marker and write the date of storage on the container, be it a plastic bag or mason jar. Lastly, put the bag/jar in the pantry.
If you live in a hot and humid area, we strongly recommend avoiding this approach, unless the cranberries are going to be consumed within a few weeks from storing them.
Storing Dried Cranberries in the Fridge
If you choose to store cranberries in your refrigerator, you should expect them to last anywhere between 1 to 2 years.
The first step is to put the dried cranberries in a plastic bag or a glass mason jar. Make sure the container you choose is sealed properly with little or no air lingering inside.
Grab a permanent marker and write the date on the container so that you don’t confuse it with other bags of cranberries that you may store in the future. This will also help you keep tabs on the cranberries’ shelf life. Lastly, place the bag/jar in the refrigerator.
Storing dried cranberries in the fridge is optimal for people who live in hot and humid areas. It’s highly recommended for storing dried fruit that won’t be consumed anytime soon.
Storing Dried Cranberries in the Freezer
If you choose to store cranberries in your freezer, you should expect them to last indefinitely for many years.
Keep in mind, however, that the longer you leave cranberries stored, the more their quality will deteriorate in terms of taste and color. They’ll still be safe to consume, though.
Storing cranberries in the freezer is a bit more intricate than storing them in the pantry or fridge. It’s important that you don’t freeze the cranberries in such a way that they stick together.
If the cranberries stick together, you won’t be able to use just a few without having to defrost the whole solid mass of cranberries.
How can you prevent dry cranberries from sticking together, though? Flash freezing! Below are the steps you need to follow.
- Grab a handful of dried cranberries and spread them onto a baking sheet. Avoid putting them on top of each other. For larger quantities of dry cranberries, you’ll need to spread them over several baking sheets.
- Next, you want to put the baking sheets into the freezer and allow the fruit to freeze. It’ll take around 45 minutes for the cranberries to freeze.
- Now that each individual dried cranberry is frozen solid, put the cranberries into storage containers that are freezer-safe. They can be plastic freezer bags, freezer containers, or even glass jars.
- Grab a permanent marker and start writing the date of freezing on each container before you put them in the freezer so that you know exactly when they can be used.
- Simply put the containers filled with dried cranberries in the freezer.
How to Know if Dried Cranberries Have Spoiled
Like I already stated, just because you stored your dried cranberries doesn’t mean they’ll last forever. There will come a time when they’ll start to spoil.
The most reliable way to determine if a pack of dried cranberries has spoiled is to look at them and smell them. If they look strange and shriveled or if they have a weird smell to them, you’re probably looking at spoiled cranberries and need to throw them away.
And of course, if you notice any signs of mold on your dried cranberries, throw them away.
How to Bring Moisture Back to Dried Cranberries
Bringing moisture to a group of dehydrated fruit is actually pretty easy. All you need to do is put them in a small bowl that contains boiling water.
After 15-20 minutes, get rid of the boiling water and drain the cranberries. The result is plumper and juicer cranberries.
Looking to add more flavor to the cranberries? Instead of putting the cranberries in hot water, rehydrate them in fruit juice or the alcoholic beverage of your preference, preferably rum, brandy, or bourbon.
They taste delicious in salads, breads, cookies, trail mix, and more. Plus, the nutrients they contain provide a long list of health benefits.
How Long Do Dried Cranberries Last?
In my opinion, the best way to store dried cranberries while preserving their color and taste for a long time is to put them in the freezer.
Just make sure to flash freeze them and place them in air-tight containers before you have them lingering in your freezer for weeks, months, or years. Here are the shelf-lifes you can expect for the different storage options:
In the pantry: 6 to 12 months
In the fridge: 18 months to 2 years
In the freezer: 3 years (but monitor for freezer burn)
In a vacuum packed foodsaver bag or mason jar: 5 years
And remember, if you live in a hot or humid area, you should avoid storing dried fruit in your pantry unless you plan on eating them within a few days/weeks of storing them.
Want some recipes to try them in? Check out this collection of the best dried cranberry recipes!
I’m a foodie that’s slightly obsessed with drying fruits, veggies, beans, and more – especially from my own garden! It started as a hobby but became a “must” when my family fell on hard times, and my dried food stash sustained us. Now I’m always experimenting with different techniques and recipes and sharing them here!