Saturday, July 16, 2011

Freezing and Drying Blueberries

I picked a bunch of blueberries the other day.  I mean a bunch.  I picked 4 gallons.  Well I picked 2 and 3/4  gallons.  My oldest picked a gallon but my youngest got real tired and whiny after about 1/2 an hour so I had to help him finish filling up his gallon bucket!!  Two gallons were for my brother and sister in law.  The place selling them is only open during the time they both work.  So I offered to pick some for them.  So that left me with 2 gallons of blueberries.  I decided to put them up for future use rather than to make something out of them.  So one gallon I froze and the the other gallon I decided to dehydrate.  I  will probably go back next week and pick some more to make pie filling or syrup or something!!


Freezing blueberries is super easy.  Just wash your berries and drain well.  Pick out any stems and then put them on cookie sheets that have a lip in a single layer.  Put in the freezer and freeze. 


I ran out of cookie sheets so I used a couple of my 9x13 pans to put them in.


Once they are frozen remove from the cookie sheets and put in your freezer containers or freezer bags and put in your freezer! I bought these freezer containers last year.  I really like them.  The lid screws on so it keeps a good seal.  It holds two cups.  Which works well.  Most recipes don't use more than a cup or two of berries.  Plus when you freeze your berries before you stack them up they don't freeze into a big clump.  They come out easily for muffins, breads, pies, and cereal!!


To dry blueberries you have to do a little bit more preparation.  According to my dehydrators directions you blanch the blueberries briefly in boiling water in order to get the blueberries to crack.  Then drain and load your dehydrator trays.




Dehydrate at 135 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 - 18 hours.  My blueberries are quite large and it took quite a bit longer then 18 hours.  It took a little longer than 24 hours for some of them.  I took them out as they were dry.  Put your berries in an air tight container with a lid.  Let sit for at least 24 hours to condition.  The moisture in the dried fruit will equalize throughout the container if left at room temperature for several days.  If some pieces are dryer than others, the conditioning process will allow the moisture to equalize.  If any condensation appears on the lid of the container, the berries are not thoroughly dried.  Return to the dehydrator and check periodically for dryness.  I got almost 3 pints of blue goodness from 1 gallon of blueberries. 
 My friend said she put her blueberries just straight into the dehydrator and they dried just fine.  Took a lot of time but dried up just like raisins.  So if I do it again I will not dip them in boiling water.  It made them a little sticky and hard to get off the dehydrator trays.  They still dried fine, but anything to make the process easier is always welcome!!



Dried blueberries are great for granola and granola bars.  To throw into cookies and other baked items.  You can use these in place of raisins for any recipe.  The best thing about them is they store for a long time.  And if they are dried properly they will not go bad on you.  It seems like you don't get that many blueberries when you dry them but look at the cost.  I paid $10 for these 3 pints of dried blueberries.  If I bought them in the store I would pay almost $5 for an 8oz bag of them.  So I did save a lot of money!!

 
I am linking to Homestead Barn Hop


10 comments:

Mary said...

Try just putting them right in the dehydrator the next time. They won't be stickey and hard to take off. I might go pick some more.

Creations by Dina said...

Thanks Mary. My sister in law just bought a dehydrator and the directions tell you to dip in boiling water. I told her to put them straight in like you did. I will do this to for now on!!

jrmom said...

I freeze blueberries too. LOVE them...to be able to make fresh muffins, smoothies or pancakes with them is great. I will try the dehydrating too...making homemade granola has been something I've been wanting to do.

AmandaZ said...

I usually dunk my berries in water mixed with a little fresh lemon juice before freezing them. I'd read this was a good way to extend their freezer life.

Patti said...

We picked about 20 pounds of blueberries this year and I froze a lot of them just you did. I also made blueberry syrup and jam. I hope to get a dehydrator soon (it's on my list) so next year I'll try drying them. Thanks!

Abbi said...

We went and picked wild blueberries this evening. We only got around a gallon so far but we hope to go back tomorrow. We plan on freezing them and making jam but drying them sounds kind of interesting. I would love having dried ones on hand for snacking or granola. I do have a dehydrator too but don't use it often.

Extraordinary Ordinary Life said...

I want to pick more but it seems like everyone is out now. I love your blog by the way. Where did you get your Popsicle molds? I can't wait to try your fudgesicle recipe.

Lynn said...

What wonderful looking blueberries! Thank you for sharing.

Birds, Bees, Berries, and Blooms said...

I love your blog! I just picked a ton of serviceberries (the South Dakota blueberry). Now I know how to save those that don't make it into the pie.

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