Normally, blueberries are so expensive, I rarely have enough to dehydrate. However, in our last Bountiful Basket order, we ordered a case of blueberries. We got four and a half pounds of blueberries in twelve six-ounce boxes.
I decided to answer this question of how to process blueberries once and for all.
I divided them into three equal groups and decided to try three different methods:
- Do nothing, just dry them whole.
- Pierce each one with a toothpick.
- Use the hot water checking method.
The first two batches were washed and drained. I used my salad spinner to drain them.
Whole blueberries on a screen
Normally, I would recommend using a screen on your rack to allow for greater air flow. But since I didn’t have enough screens, I decided that each batch would get one screen and one fruit leather tray. Fortunately, each batch only took two racks.
Using a toothpick, it took me ten minutes to puncture each blueberry.
Checking in Hot Water
Checking is what we call the process of breaking the skins. I brought a large pot of water to the rolling boil, and then dropped my blueberries in it. In roughly a minute and a half, the berries began to split.
Cold Water Bath
I removed the berries from the hot water and plunged them into cold water to stop the cooking process.
Although the actual checking time was very short, it took a while to set up the boiling water and the cooling water.
In the end, the berries were very soft and some even mushy. I’m thinking if I used this process again, instead of dipping my berries out of the hot water, I would pour them all into a colander to drain before plunging into the cold water. Blueberries are quite fragile in hot water and quickly cooked beyond what I would have liked.
The End Results?
|Control Batch - Do Nothing|
The checked berries still dried just fine, but as you can see, the juice ran out and they just weren’t up to what I thought they should be.
What to do? Decide for yourself.