How to Dehydrate Frozen Blueberries
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As the end of September approaches, the close of the North American blueberry season is coming to an end. Here in the Pacific Northwest, we have wonderfully BIG juicy berries. They are so good to eat right off the bush. I now have two types of blueberry bushes and plan to add another next year. This is how I like to dehydrate frozen blueberries. All of those wonderful berries dried and saved for winter. Usually, we have a few quarts saved by the time winter hits. We use them to make pancakes, muffins, scones, oatmeal, and even hot tea, there are many uses.
Let’s Dry Some Blueberries
If I don’t have time to dry my blueberries I freeze them so they don’t go bad before I can. I rinse in cool water and remove any bad berries and remove stems left behind. Then I scatter them out on a tray and flash freeze them for an hour. After the hour I place them in a baggie and allow them to continue to freeze.
Checking, Poking vs Frozen
Fresh blueberries need to go through the checking or poking process. Blueberries, cranberries, and grapes all have a waxy coating on their skin. This coating needs to be broken in order to dry the berries completely inside and out. If you don’t break the skin of the berry then it will dry on the outside and still be moist inside. If that happens you have moldy berries from the inside out. YUCK!
The checking process is where you boil water and dip a strainer filled with a batch of berries in the water for a short time. This process is usually 20-30 seconds. You do not want the skins to break open and lose all the juicy goodness. Just dip them long enough to crack the skin and remove them. You don’t want to boil them and make berry juice. I made that mistake the first time I dried blueberries.
The poking process is where you poke each and every berry with something sharp to break the skins. Poking them allows for the air to get inside the berry and dry it.
The freezing process freezes the skins of the berry and creates small cracks on the surface. You can’t really see the cracks with your eyes. It’s just how the freezing process works. You have to have faith that the surface cracked.
I have tried all three methods and my favorite is freezing the berries but I think you get more flavor when you poke them. It just takes FOREVER when you poke them. I might poke them if I have a pound but when it gets to multiple pounds I freeze them.
I placed them on parchment paper to keep from staining the trays. The parchment paper also helps for easy removal when dry.
I am using a Nesco dehydrator. When cutting out parchment paper make sure to cut a hole in the center of the paper and make sure the paper isn’t hanging over the edges. You want the paper to end on the inside edge of the tray. The dehydrator uses holes on the edges and the center areas explicitly for airflow. Covering them up can break the dehydrator. That is how I broke my first one.
Scatter and layout the berries on the tray.
Dry for approximately 19- 24 hours at 130 F / 55c degrees
This is my Nesco Snack Master Dehydrator. Mine can be built up to 12 trays.
As you can see I numbered them. I numbered them for 2 simple reasons. One to keep track of what I am dehydrating on what tray when I dehydrate mix fruits or veggies. If I need to check on a particular item I know exactly what tray it is on without having to go through them all. Second, It helps me keep track of which tray was shifted down or up during the drying process. Shifting the trays up or down allows for an even drying time.
The berries are dry when they are shriveled, firm, and dry inside.
Here is a close-up of the dried blueberries.
Place them in a mason jar for the next two weeks. I do a process called conditioning.
Conditioning is when you check the jar for moisture. This usually lasts for the next 1-2 weeks. You look at the glass jar and the food in the jar for water droplets, steam, moisture of any kind. The next step is to shake the jar and look for any sticking food. If it is stuck to the jar or other pieces it may not be dry enough. If moisture is found you can put the food back in the dehydrator for a while longer and keep checking on it until it is dry. This is how to dehydrate frozen blueberries. I hope you enjoyed it. =)
After the conditioning process has been completed, I will vacuum seal my jar for long-term storage.
Vacuum seal lid attachments come in regular and wide mouths.
Refresh Rehydrate By Steam or Water
There is a couple of ways to Refresh/rehydrate berries. The first is water. Add water to the berries and allow them to sit for 15 minutes. The second is steaming. Steaming the berries makes them plump and juicy again. I like this method much more than adding water. The methods to use depends on what you plan to use the berries for. I use the water method when I’m baking or cooking with the blueberries.
How to Dehydrate Frozen Blueberriesmischyf.com
- Parchment paper
- 1 lbs Frozen Blueberries
- Cut parchment paper to fit trays
- Spread frozen blueberries on a tray
- Dehydrate 130 F / 55c degrees for 19- 24 hours
- Berries are dry when they are shriveled, firm, and dry inside.
- Fill a mason jar
- Start the conditioning process
- Vacuum seal for storage
Conditioning process - Pick the jar up and look for moisture on the jar glass or item in the jar. Then shake the jar to see if anything is sticking. If you find moisture or that the item is sticky, put it back in the dehydrator to dry some more making sure to check on them every couple of hours for dryness.
How to Dehydrate Frozen Blueberries