Suddenly receiving a windfall of any kind of berry can be a real blessing! We love berries of any kind and regularly use them in oatmeal, baking, snacking and more. The only thing about berries that kind of stinks is that they can go bad so fast, so you really have to do something with them in a hurry. Other than just eating them, my method of choice is dehydrating. I love the flexibility of dehydrated fruits and berries and I love that they are then shelf stable for a while. I also really love that a whole bucket of berries will end up being just a fraction of the size as the same amount of fresh berries, making them even easier to store.
How do you dehydrate blueberries?
It’s a very simple process, only requiring a couple of steps.
- Rinse your berries and pick through them for sticks of ones that aren’t looking so hot.
- Spread them out on your dehydrator sheets, being sure to leave just a little room around the berries.
- Dehydrate them. I have an Excalibur 5 Tray dehydrator, so I just set them to the fruit setting and check on the berries periodically.
- Remove the very dehydrated berries and pack in your desired food storage method. I like to seal them with my food saver in a bag, but I usually leave a few out for snacking and eating using right away. I do put my dehydrated fruits/veggies into the freezer for a couple of weeks to pasteurize after I remove them from the dehydrator.
What’s the difference between dehydrated and dried?
When you dry fruit or veggies, you are just removing a little of the moisture and concentrating the flavors of the dried fruit/veggie. When you dehydrate you are taking out most of the moisture, nearly all of it, in fact, and getting it to a state where there isn’t enough moisture left to rot. Essentially, drying food is best for foods you want to eat quickly- think dried fruit you get at the store for snacks and to add to baked goods. Dehydrating foods is to get them ready for long term storage. A dried piece of apple will bend and be chewy, while a dehydrated one will crack if you try to bend it and have a crisp texture. Both ways have their place, but you need to know which one you are going for so you aren’t disappointed when your food spoils unexpectedly. For me, dehydrating is my choice.
A few tips and ideas.
You can now use your dehydrated blueberries just like fresh ones, after you re-hydrate them of course 😉 I just pour a bit of boiling water over the blueberries and let them sit while I mix up whatever I want to use them in. By the time I’m ready to stir them into my batter or dough, they’ve re-hydrated and are ready to use. Another thing we really love to do is to use the blueberries in oatmeal or homemade cold cereal. They re-hydrate a bit in the milk or cooking liquid and become so, so good. Lastly, add a few of the dehydrated blueberries to your tea and get a boost of super fresh tasting blueberry flavor! It’s a nice pick me up and an unexpected change from the usual.
We really love to make these Blueberry Muffins all year long, and having a nice stash of dehydrated blueberries makes it possible, even when they aren’t available fresh! How do you like to use blueberries? Have you ever dehydrated them before?