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I have a slow cooker recipe (for meat) that calls for 4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries. Fresh are out of season, and frozen out of stock at my usual stores. All that's available are dried cranberries.

I'm wondering about the advisability of getting the dried cranberries and re-hydrating them in the other fluid ingredients of the recipe (e.g. apple juice) over the stove, and using them in the slow cooker as usual.

Is this a reasonable thing to do? If so, what measure of dried cranberries will substitute for 4 cups frozen? And how much fluid will that amount of dried cranberries require to re-hydrate to 4 cups?

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    That sounds perfectly reasonable. Be aware that most dried cranberries are sweetened, so the sweetness of the rest of the recipe might need to be adjusted. The trickiest part is figuring much dried cranberries to use. To give us every advantage, can you link to the recipe? – Jolenealaska Apr 18 '17 at 4:50
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    I'd be tempted to soak them in water for a couple of hours first and discard the water before cooking. This would only start to rehydrate them but would take away some sugar (especially any on the surface) if they're sweetened. If unsweetened you could work out the water loss and therefore liquid needed from nutrition information (dried vs. fresh found online). Possibly still if sweetened but not using csrbs or calories and less accurate.this also assumes they rehydrate exactly to the same state as fresh. – Chris H Apr 18 '17 at 5:52
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    If your recipe already calls for apple juice and your cranberries are sweetened, perhaps swap a little bit of the juice for cider vinegar. – Chris H Apr 18 '17 at 5:57
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I wouldn't.

I'm guessing that a recipe which requires 4 cups of fresh cranberries has them as either the majority ingredient, or the #2 ingredient by weight. With that assumption in mind, I'm recommending against this.

Fresh cranberries are very high in ascorbic acid (Vitamin C). This makes them extremely tart, which is a big part of their flavor. In dried ones, all of this acid and about half their tartness is destroyed by the drying process. Dried cranberries are often sweetened as well. As a result, a rehydrated dried cranberry won't taste a lot like a fresh one ... compare fresh table grapes and raisins for a similar difference.

  • In a recipe where the cranberries were a minor ingredient, the substitution would probably be fine. – FuzzyChef Apr 18 '17 at 16:45
  • One could always buy a bag of powdered ascorbic acid, and add it to the rehydration mix. – Wayfaring Stranger Apr 19 '17 at 1:45
  • @WayfaringStranger yeah, but it would take a LOT of experimentation to figure out if you had gotten the recipe right. And, you'd need a fresh cranberry version to compare it against. Mind you, if someone wants to do the experimentation to determine the formula for "reconstituted cranberries", I'd be very interested to see the result. – FuzzyChef Apr 19 '17 at 19:04
  • This is exactly what I needed to know. Great answer, thanks! – Codeswitcher Apr 22 '17 at 1:57

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