My first advice for anyone making candied fruit is to get a calendar or journal to help you keep track of what step you are at in this long process. This is especially important if you are doing several fruits or citrus rinds at the same time. Yea, you can use this process for almost any fresh fruit both wild and domestic.

Use only firm, unblemished fruit in this process and always wash fruit before hand. It will be necessary to prick each cranberry before the first step with a needle otherwise they will burst open in the cooking process and become mushy.

Candied Cranberries

In a sauce pan place your washed and needle pricked cranberries. Cover with just enough water to cover and set on a medium heat. Allow to cook for 3-4 minutes. Not enough time to make the fruit mushy but enough time to break down the cell walls so your sugar will penetrate the cranberries easily over the next couple of weeks. Remove your cranberries from the heat and strain keeping the juice aside.

For every one pound of fruit that you just cooked place 1 and 1/4 cup of liquid in a sauce pan. Heat to a boil and dissolve 3/4 cups of granular sugar. When completely dissolved pour this sugar mixture over your cranberries and set this aside. Note here that if at all possible you should lay your fruit in a single layer for the sugar syrup. This allows the syrup to cover every piece of fruit. As I am limited on kitchen space I saved the single layer technique for orange slices and such of that nature but I used glass jars for grapes and cranberries. As all fruits used love to float do weight down your single layer fruits with a plate and your jarred items with a small custard bowl set inside the jar. Leave your fruit to set at room temperature for 24 hours.

On day 2 strain off your syrup and place it in a sauce pan. Heat and dissolve 1/4 of additional sugar to the syrup and cover your fruit with the syrup when it reaches a hard boil and all the sugar is dissolved.Cover and leave for another 24 hours. Repeat this process for days 3,4,5,6, and 7.

On day 8 drain off your syrup and dissolve 1/3 of a cup of sugar by bring the syrup to a hard boil. This time though you will add your fruit, allow the mixture to reach a boil then place the fruit and syrup back in your container to age for 48 hours. Repeat this process again on day 10 but leave set for 4 days before moving onto the next step. (See why a journal is important now? It just gets confusing where you are at otherwise.)

On day 14 your syrup will have the consistency of honey. With many fruits it will also have a golden color as does honey but with cranberries it will be a marvelous scarlet. Drain your fruit in a colander saving the syrup and setting it aside. When the fruit is completely drained dry it for 2-3 days in a warm, dry place or in your oven at it's lowest setting with the door held ajar with a wooden spoon. For either method do stir the fruit on occasion to insure a complete and thorough drying of the fruit. For air drying I would imagine that laying your fruit on wax paper would be good but for the oven I used a non stick cookie sheet.

The fruit can be used strait away without drying in fruit cakes and cookies. If you dry them completely you can grind them into a coarse meal to be used as a sprinkle for cakes, breakfast cereals or trail mixes. And they byproduct of fruit syrup? That is a welcome addition to our table I use it for glazes for deserts, on ice-cream or pancakes. And if you are like me, it is never enough to victimize just your family so do pass along your hard work in gift baskets over the holidays.

Other fruit you can candy include but are not limited to: apple, peaches, apricots, grapes, mango, kiwi, pear, citrus or wild fruits. Keep each fruit separate or the flavors will blend and if using small fruits such as cherries do take the time to pit them. Keep sections of fruit uniform in size for each batch and most of all allow this to be a fun project. The possibilities end only where your imagination ends.
Candied Cranberries (and other fruit)
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