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. With dried blueberries, or blueberry powder in the freezer, I can have blueberry flavor all year long!
While the flavor of oven dried blueberries is not as powerful as the freeze dried ones available at the store, the cost is much lower and you have the benefit of knowing where your berries came from.
First, rinse your fresh or frozen blueberries and place them on a parchment lined baking sheet. 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. The lower the temperature you use, the longer it will take to dry them.
Using convection at 170 degrees Fahrenheit, my blueberries took 5 hours to dry to the state of chewiness. Smaller berries were solid and I removed them as they dried. Full dryness takes about 8 hours at that low of a temperature.
If you raise the oven temperature to 300 degrees Fahrenheit, your blueberries will completely dry in 1 to 2 hours (my first batch turned into blueberry pellets after 1 1/2 hours)!
What do you do with completely dried Blueberries? 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
- Sprinkle it between pancakes as you griddle and stack
- 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 blueberry powder doesn’t really have blueberry flavor on it’s own. Just like fresh blueberries, it needs a little sweetener to deliver true blueberry flavor. By itself, dried blueberry powder tastes tart, similar to citrus zest.
My second method for making blueberry or other fruit powders is to simply bake the fruit pulp leftover from making strained jelly. Take the strained fruit (with no sugar added) and spread it out on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 to 3 hours, just until dry and crispy.
Let it cool completely, then break it up and pulverize it in the food processor or spice grinder.
If you don’t want the seeds, sift the fruit powder through a sieve.
Keep in mind that these are whole berries and in dried “powder” form are not soluble in liquid (won’t dissolve).
My preferred method of making a blueberry glaze is simply to cook a few blueberries with a teaspoon or two of water in the microwave for 20 to 30 seconds, then add powdered sugar (remove the pulp from the bowl before adding the sugar).
If you want dried fruit flavored and chewy, coat lightly with vegetable or coconut oil and honey or another liquid sweetener before putting in the oven. If coating with sweetener, bake fruit really low, try between 180 and 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Check hourly until fruit is at the consistency you desire.
These blueberries were dried from frozen state until they were chewy, then tossed in a jar with a tablespoon of granulated sugar. They are tart and sweet and remind me of candy!
Once dried I store berries or powder in the freezer.
If you want to infuse dried berries or berry powder with more flavor, try adding a few sprigs of dried herbs to the jar ~ rosemary or thyme would be great!