In a medium saucepan make a simple syrup by combining 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 cup of sugar. Heat over medium heat until mixture comes to a simmer. Stir constantly until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes.
Add 2 cups of fresh cranberries, 1 cup at a time, to the saucepan. Stir the cranberries to coat them in the simple syrup.
Use a slotted spoon to remove the cranberries from the simple syrup.
Place the cranberries on a wire rack set over a foil-lined cookie sheet. Repeat with the remaining cup of cranberries and allow them to dry for 1 hour.
Add 1/3 cup of sugar to a pie plate, then add 1/3 of the cranberries.
Shake the pie plate gently in a back and forth motion until the cranberries are coated in the sugar.
Scoop the cranberries up with a clean slotted spoon, shaking off the excess sugar, and place the cranberries back on the wire rack to set and dry. Repeat with the remaining cranberries.