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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Stabbing Cranberries

It's not as serious as my stab, but it is with the same knife. Even though I have read/watched how to dehydrate cranberries, I am not going to blanch them so they will pop. That seems to sacrifice too much of the juice. Oh, no, I am going to stand at the sink, sopping from popped cranberries instead of carrying my knife to the ottoman and sit to do this job. When I stand, I shake/tremble from the pain, so I have to sit ever so often. Below, is how many cranberries I can pop at one standing.
Also, the knife that stabbed me in the chest

Rather than heat the cranberries to popping open stage, I took a knife and stabbed them. I would have cut them slightly, but the skins were too tough and I was mashing cranberries.

Once I put them in the dehydrator, I drank the juice that had drained through the colander. Straight lemon juice has met its match for sourness. But, it was only 1/3 of a cup, so I drank it down, thinking how good it was for me.

If you ever decide to dehydrate cranberries and don't want to heat them in water until they pop, I would suggest you slit or stab each one while it is frozen or semi-frozen. I lost juice and being mushy made the cranberries difficult to cut open. That is why I stabbed.

Why cut them open? I think it is called "case hardened." If not, let me know the correct term. All it means is that the outside dried faster than the inside can and moisture is locked inside. You don't want this to happen to your cranberries or anything else. That is what happened to the slices of sweet potato. 
How many I had to go to finish

ready for dehydrator

two leg/thigh quarters cooking away on the stove

Whether this will be chicken and dumplings or not is still up in the air. If I feel like making dumplings tonight, it will be chicken and dumplings. I don't like thighs, but this is what I had, so I may just give all this to exbf who is coming to help me tomorrow. He will not want the broth, so that will be just more broth for me for Thanksgiving. We will see. But, I am so hungry for dumplings.

The kitchen smells good and is warm with cranberries in the dehydrator and chicken boiling away. Maybe I will make cornbread for dressing.   I think not.

front-frozen for exbf, scraps for hens,
back--quart of broth, bit of meat for me

Some day, I will try canning broth. But, I would need more than one quart, maybe four pints?

It's done. My day is mostly over. One last thing--I will mix all the dry ingredients for a chocolate pound cake, my contribution to a Thanksgiving Dinner that starts at noon! UGH! I am accustomed to my friends who say, "We eat at five; come at four to visit." Then, we eat at six. Okay, I can do this. I know I can! And, I will cook my turkey next week.

If I get out all the pans for the three pound cakes, have the wax paper cut, and all wet ingredients ready, this will not be hard tomorrow night. I hope I have enough eggs. I think there are only four and the ingredients call for five. So, I may use dehydrated egg whites for the missing egg.  I bought it awhile ago for the one egg unless the girls lay another before tomorrow night.

Your turn
Have you ever dehydrated cranberries? Did you heat the berries to pop them? Or, did you just puncture them? Raise your hand if you like chicken and dumplings? Do you use the fat on top of the broth in the chicken/dumplings? I hate to remove all of it. What do you do with it if you take it off the broth? Personally, I consider it part of the broth. 


  1. Can chickens eat chicken scraps?

    I'm getting eggs today from our Community Garden chickens. $3.00 for 6, cheaper then $3.47 at supermarket for happy chicken eggs.

  2. FDU,
    Commercial chicken feed has dead chicks and chicken feathers and cigarette butts in it. Chickens will eat a mouse when they catch it, and they will chase one down and fight over it. Chickens need protein. Some say I make cannibals of my chickens. No, chickens will eat chicks in the pen if the mother is not watchful. Chickens don't have the same moral center that we do. I am glad you asked that question.

    I also give them a bit of pork or beef, not much. They love a can of tuna now and then. They love any milk product.

    The prices for eggs that are raised humanely are much higher in AU than here. I am glad my eggs come from the backyard and are free. I never spend money on food, just give them all the nutrients they need in people food. Plus, they spend lots of time scratching for bugs and worms.

  3. i haven't ever dehydrated cranberries but this is a timely post for me as we have a ton of them and i do like dried cranberries. so thanks for sharing the tips.

    make chicken and dumplings!!! and take pics and give me your recipe - i love chicken and dumplings!

    i hope you have a wonderful and very Happy Thanksgiving! jambaloney and i are celebrating this weekend and we have much to be thankful for!

    your friend,

  4. Hi Linda
    I'm waiting anxiously to see how your cranberries turn out. I haven't done that yet but want to this year. I love dried cranberries!

    I know hardly a thing about chickens. We are getting layers in spring so I will ask you!
    When we lived in Chicago, eggs from humanely raised chickens (meaning on a small farm, not a greenwashed "organic" factory) were selling for 5 dollars a dozen and people were buying them up. Here in the country we buy a dozen for 1.25.

    I love chicken and dumplings! Never made it myself.

  5. LindaM and kymber,
    This morning, some of the cranberries were swollen instead of being wrinkly. More stabbing to do. Tonight, they are getting more wrinkly and I need to do a bit more stabbing. It's funny, because even when they were just thawed, the cranberries made a "hiss" noise when I stabbed them with the knife. I tasted one; exbf tasted one, "Tart." But he ate it anyway.

    Chicken and dumplings:
    best to boil a whole hen or even fryer. I have used parts I had, but having some brown meat makes it best. The back and neck flavor is wonderful.

    More on a post on chicken and dumplings.

    $5 a dozen? Well, for that a person could take their country eggs and sell them in town! I know it's crazy, but I would love to raise chickens for eggs and some chickens for eating. It might be a chore and a bother if I had too many and it became a job. Then, I could not scrounge for food like I do. I would have to raise a garden to feed them.

    There is no way a hen of mine who lays eggs will ever get commercial feed. I have read and heard too much about the problems it causes for hens. Oh, chickens for eating will not have any commercial feed, either.

    This winter, I will be pulling weeds for hens to eat. My St. Augustine grass dies to a nice crunchy brown in the winter.

  6. great post!!

    we have a TON of cranberries and although i was planning on juicing a pile, but we may change our minds 'cuz we LOVE dried cranberries!

    Happy Thanksgiving from both kymber and myself!!

    btw, careful with that knife!!

  7. Jambaloney,
    They take a long time to dry and are now stuck to the mesh in the dehydrator! Thanks! Happy Thanksgiving to the both of you.


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