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Blueberries are a well-known nutrient-packed berry, chock full of vitamins and antioxidants. They’re obviously delicious when they’re fresh but, if you have an abundance, have you considered dehydrating them? The drying process prolongs their shelf life so you can avoid wastage and enjoy blueberries out of season. Once they’re dried and stored properly, blueberries last for up to a year or even longer.
Dehydrated blueberries make an excellent fun snack that serve as a delicious alternative to sultanas and raisins. There are many ways to enjoy these sweet treats. Add dried blueberries to your favourite muffins, cakes and cereal for a burst of flavour, colour and nutritional boost.
Any type of blueberry can be dehydrated. Wild, home grown, store-bought or frozen. Depending on where you live or the time of year, frozen blueberries may be your only option.
Dehydrated blueberries are a culinary joy but blending then into a powder extends the usefulness of your blueberry harvest to the next level.
The high levels of the antioxidant called anthocyanin in blueberries works its magic as a natural food colouring. Anthocyanin pigments are concentrated in the skin and give blueberries their intense blue-purple colour. Because one cup of tiny wild blueberries yields more berries than one cup of cultivated berries (which are much larger in size) there is a higher ratio of skin pigment when blending wild blueberries. We mixed a teaspoon of wild blueberry powder and cultivated blueberry powder with yogurt to show the difference in pigmentation. Amazing right!
Here’s some inspiration for using it:
FRESH BLUEBERRIES - Preparing fresh blueberries is a bit fiddly but well worth the extra effort and saves time in the Breeze food dehydrator. Fresh blueberries have a high-water content, and skins that will not perforate on their own, locking in all that water. The most essential step with fresh blueberries is to break the skins of each and every berry. We tested several methods, including blanching the berries in hot water and discovered that slicing the blueberries one by one was by far the most efficient method. Blanched blueberries took twice as long to dehydrate and lacked flavour.
FROZEN BLUEBERRIES - If you are using frozen blueberries, either cultivated or wild, you can simply thaw the berries and then place them straight on the dehydrator trays. No pre-treatment is required.
1. Wash and pat dry fresh blueberries.
2. Slit every single fresh blueberry with a knife. Slice larger blueberries in half. Skip this step if using frozen berries.
3. Line the Breeze Food Dehydrator trays with silicon mesh sheets. Even larger sized blueberries will fall through the wire mesh trays once dehydrated. Liners are essential.
4. Place the blueberries in a single layer, on the silicon mesh sheets allowing a little space between for air flow.
5. Set the Breeze Food Dehydrator to 60 C / 140 F and the timer to 8 hours to check in. Larger blueberries may take up to twice that time.
For long term storage, or blueberry powder they must click when dropped or rattle when shaken in a jar. If you plan to make powder, over drying is always safer than under drying.
If you are planning to snack on the dehydrated blueberries over the next few weeks, conditioning is not required. If you suspect any residual moisture, (often the case when berries vary in size) or if you plan to store the berries for months, conditioning is a must. Let the berries come to room temperature then place in jars and let sit somewhere cool and dry for several days – up to a week. Shake the jars every few days. If the blueberries become sticky or moisture appears inside the jar, put them back on the dehydrator trays to dry for another few hours.
Store chewy dehydrated blueberries in airtight containers in the fridge or freezer. Store properly dried and conditioned blueberries in airtight containers in a dark, cool place away from heat and direct sunlight for up to one year. Containers made from glass, or these vacuum sealed canisters are the best to use.
GRINDING TO A POWDER
Once you know that the blueberries are fully dried, allow to cool to room temperature then place in the Vibe Blender System Jug and blend on nut mode until a powder forms. Approx. 1 minute. Sieve the powder for a super fine finish.
In storage, you may find that blueberry powder starts to clump. You can prevent this by shaking the jar after every use or add ¼ teaspoon of arrowroot powder (you won’t taste it).