Friday, June 28, 2013

How to Dehydrate Your Own Blueberries

One day I had a crazy idea. I thought to myself that drying blueberries was a great idea. I mean, why not?

To buy dried blueberries in the store or online can cost $13-16 for 8 ounces. OUCH! That is an expensive addition to my granola! So I thought I would try to dehydrate my own blueberries. By doing this, I would have them ready to add to trail mix and granola.

I thought I was a genius. What followed proved I still have a lot to learn.

I did my research. Some people recommended poking a hole in them to dry them faster and a bit flatter. Some people recommended just drying them as they were. I choose option 2.

At the grocery store, I bought three pints of blueberries on sale for $1.99 (normally $3.99 a pint). Perfect. I am doing a project that will save me money and I am saving even more money with my initial purchase!

I filled the trays on my ancient dehydrator with the lovely blueberries after giving them a quick rinse.

I plugged in the dehydrator before bed and went to sleep. I woke up the next morning to barely wrinkled blueberries. That is okay because I knew from my research that this process could take at least 24 hours because blueberries hold a fair amount of juice.

I checked the dehydrator before going to bed and removed a few blueberries that had dried on the bottom rack. I switched racks because the bottom appeared to be drying faster. I put the dehydrator back together and went to bed.

I woke up the next morning to more blueberries being done and I removed those. I had a half tray left of blueberries that needed more drying time. However, I thought that running the dehydrator for only a half rack of blueberries was a waste of time and energy. I sliced up some apples to dry while the remaining blueberries dried.

By the time supper rolled around, the blueberries were done. Wow! That took a long time! If you try this, you will be looking at a 24-48 hour drying time. Is it worth it?

Take a look at the jar:

Three pints of fresh blueberries fills only one 1/2 of a pint jar. I got one cup of blueberries which is what I need for the granola recipe I like to use. However, I am not sure the time, cost, and effort is worth that.

I take that back, the cost is worth it. Remember $13 for 8-ounce bag. OUCH!

I did just receive a gift of a new-to-me dehydrator that has 5-6 trays and would do more at a time, but the cost of buying and/or picking them is still a factor until I get some blueberry bushes planted and established.

Overall I am glad I did take the time to dry blueberries. I have a new appreciation for the work and time that goes into the process. I am just not sure I will do it as a regular thing.

Thanks for reading!