From blueberry muffins to blueberry scones, there are multiple uses for dried blueberries in baking. Dry sweetened or unsweetened blueberries in an oven at 225°F for 2-5 hours before cooling them to room temperature and storing them in airtight containers.
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How to Dry Blueberries for Use in Baking
Drying blueberries in an oven is an excellent alternative method to drying them in a dehydrator.
Here’s how to dehydrate blueberries in an oven:
- Pick the best ripe and firm fresh blueberries with a purple-blue or blue-black color.
- Preheat the oven to 225°F.
- Wash the blueberries in a colander using cool running water and remove any leaves and stems.
- Blanch the blueberries for 2 minutes in a sugar syrup made from one part sugar to two parts water. Syrup-blanching is better than water-blanching for blueberries to be used in baking.
- Take the blueberries out of the hot syrup with a slotted spoon and dip them in ice water to cool. Use paper towels to dab them dry.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the blueberries on the sheet in a single layer.
- Load the baking sheet into the oven and bake the berries at 225°F for 2-5 hours. Chewy, pliable, leathery dried blueberries are better than crunchy ones for baking. Leave the oven door partially ajar for aeration.
- Check on the blueberries after the second hour. Flip them over if necessary.
- Once they have attained a chewy texture, take a few pieces out and test for moisture. Let them cool to room temperature, and squeeze them between your thumb and forefinger. They should not excrete moisture when squeezed but will feel sticky because of the syrup-blanching.
- Continue dehydrating if necessary, or cool the finished dried blueberries to room temperature.
- Store them in airtight glass containers and condition them for 7 days, shaking each container once daily to ensure no moisture forms.
- Store dried blueberries in a cool, dry, dark place until ready to use in baking recipes, or eat them as a healthy snack.
What is the Difference Between Baking with Fresh and Dried Blueberries?
It’s possible to bake with either fresh or dried blueberries. When you use dried blueberries, there will be darker spots where the berries rest because dried fruit is darker than fresh. The moisture content doesn’t change in most recipes since you have to rehydrate dried blueberries before adding them to the dough or batter.
Goods baked with dried blueberries also have a stronger flavor and are sweeter because the sugars in the berries are concentrated during dehydration.
What are the Benefits of Using Dried Blueberries in Baking?
Baking with dried blueberries has the following advantages:
- Baked items with dried blueberries have a sweeter blueberry flavor, particularly when blanched in sugar syrup.
- Each baked item packs more nutritional value because the antioxidants and minerals are more concentrated in dried berries.
- Homemade dehydrated blueberries are free of preservatives and added sugars.
- In baked goods where the dried blueberries aren’t rehydrated, the texture is firmer as fresh berries store more water.
Recipe Ideas for Baking with Dried Blueberries
Looking for dried blueberry recipe inspiration? Try these exciting baked treats with dried or rehydrated blueberries:
- Blueberry Hand Pies
- Chocolate Chip Blueberry Cookies
- Dried Blueberry Scones
- Homemade Blueberry Granola
- Lemon Blueberry Bread
- Vanilla-glazed Blueberry Oatmeal Bars
Do Dried Blueberries Need to Be Soaked Before Using in Recipes?
It’s advisable to rehydrate dried blueberries before using them in most baking recipes. Rehydration will help reduce dryness in baked goods. However, you may find that rehydrated berries make certain baked items soggy, the same as fresh blueberries.
To rehydrate dehydrated berries, soak them in hot water for 5-10 minutes or in cold water for up to 30 minutes. Depending on the recipe and your preference, you can forgo rehydrating the berries in water in favor of letting them rehydrate when they are mixed with wet ingredients.
Should Dried Blueberries Be Refrigerated?
Cold storage helps increase the shelf life of unopened airtight containers of dried berries by 1-2 years. Once a container is opened, store it in the refrigerator.
Can Dried Blueberries Be Eaten Raw?
Dried blueberries can be eaten raw as a healthy snack right out of the bag. They can be added raw into recipes like trail mix or paired with dried nuts such as pecans and sprinkled on homemade granola.
How Long Will Dried Blueberries Last?
Dried blueberries last 6-12 months when stored at room temperature in unopened airtight containers in a cool, dry, dark place. For maximum shelf life, keep dried blueberries in a freezer for 2-5 years in vacuum-sealed bags.