The “Tell” – Springdell Summer CSA Pickup #16


Welcome to the 16th “Tell” of the Springdell Show and Tell, where we break down the inventory of the share box so you can see where each veggie ended up.
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All veggie scraps composted unless otherwise noted.

Another wonderful harvest as we store away many of or goods for the winter.  We are looking forward to seeing what will grace our share boxes tomorrow!  

Now for a quick word from Jess:

Hi everyone!  I wanted to follow up on something I was asked about last season – and that is how to make unsweetened dried cranberries.  At the supermarket, you’ll notice the ingredients to include cranberries and sugar.  Even at the health food stores, many are made with sweet apple juice.  

imageMy first batch of unsweetened cranberries at home was totally inspired by The Healthy Foodie blog (thank you, Sonia!)  It’s an entertaining post that speaks the truth about the tedious nature of drying these beauties out at home.  First, you have to cook them for just a couple of minutes in juice just until they pop.  Unsweetened pomegranate juice is used in the Healthy Foodie version, and it really does impart a nice neutral flavor to the cranberries.  I have also tried using 100% unsweetened cranberry juice (which is something I usually only buy for medicinal purposes as, if you haven’t had it, it is incredibly tart.)  This juice produces dried cranberries that I like more for cooking with (such as a sprinkle on a sweet butternut soup) but not so much for straightforward snacking. The huge tartness of the unsweetened cranberry juice against the huge tartness of the unsweetened cranberries becomes amplified to the point where it is almost too much, in my opinion.  

Unsweetened apple juice works too, but if you’re going to go through the trouble of making them at home using unsweetened apple juice, honestly you may just want to buy yourself a bag from the professional cranberry dryers instead.   

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The good news is that when you have strained your popped cranberries, you can mix the remaining juice with some cider, seltzer or cocktail for a wonderful treat.  

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Once these puppies are on the cookie sheet, the rest of this process is just separating and squishing the berries into submission while slowly drying in the oven at 150-175.  Hungry Foodie does this over a period of about five to seven hours, checking every 30-60 minutes.  Unfortunately this is not a workable reality in my household.  I end up turning the stove on, separating and squishing them after an hour, then shutting the stove off to run an errand with the berries inside.  I then come back, separate and squish some more, then turning the stove back on until I have to leave again for my next errand.

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Over 24 hours of on/off/smoosh/separate, I finally get this.  

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I think if I was home minding these the whole time, it would not be worth it.  However, this method works for me.  I almost filled 2 pint jars with the 2 boxes from our CSA.  Good stuff! 

So that’s it!  Try them if you dare!  Thanks for reading, and see you tomorrow for more culinary adventures.

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