When your freezer becomes overtaken with summer crops you learn to experiment with preserving. Jams and jellies soon become boring. One of the ways I have experimented with preserving my blueberry crop is drying.
There is no true recipe to this, you simply bake your berries at low temperature until you get them to the state of drydom you wish to have.
If you want them chewy, coat them lightly with vegetable or coconut oil and honey or another liquid sweetener before putting them in the oven. If coating with sweetener, bake them really low, try around 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Check them hourly until they are at the consistency you desire.
The first time I did this I did not coat them in anything and over dried them. I ended up with blueberry pellets. I put the pellets in the freezer until I could figure out what to do with them.
What to do? Make blueberry powder!
What can you do with blueberry powder?
- Well, it has a tart flavor and can be sprinkled on and in foods as a spice, like I did with my Ground Sumac Substitution
- Try combining it with powdered sugar to top doughnuts, cookies, french toast or other treats
- Mix with salt to top sweet and savory foods, think blueberry salted caramel or truffles!
- Add it to smoothies
- Rim a cocktail glass…Blue Margarita anyone?
Dried blueberries can also be reconstituted in liquid to make the flavor more complex, before being added to your favorite sweet or savory recipes.
I reconstituted mine in the wine poached fruit syrup I had left over from another recipe and then used them in muffins.
Keep in mind that these are whole berries and in dried “powder” form are not soluble in liquid (they won’t dissolve).
So, when I over dried them to the point where I could make Blueberry Powder, how did I do that?
I simply rinsed and towel dried them then laid them out on a parchment lined baking sheet. They were then baked at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for about an hour and a half.
Once dried you can store them in the freezer. Or just put them in a jar and seal. If you want to infuse the dried berries with more flavor, try adding a few sprigs of dried herbs to the jar ~ rosemary or thyme would be great!
August 3, 2017 Update: My blueberry harvest this summer started early and fast, then petered out a bit. Towards the end I was gathering small handfuls at a time, racing to get them before the birds and squirrels! I rinsed and dried them and placed them on a parchment lined plate on my kitchen counter and have let them dry on their own for 2 weeks. I now have a small jar of dried blueberries and didn’t even have to turn on the oven!