The good taste and high nutritional value of blueberries makes it unfortunate they are not widely available all year round. A serving supplies your body with 25 percent of your daily vitamin C requirement as well as a healthy dose of iron, manganese and fiber. In addition, blueberries are one of the best ways to supply your body with the health benefits of antioxidants. Understanding the process of drying or preserving blueberries will help you reap their benefits long after their growing season is over.
Set the insert in a vegetable steamer and add enough water to fill the steamer basket about halfway full.
Bring the water to a full boil on your stove.
Add the blueberries to the boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds.
Remove the steamer basket from the boiling water and place it under a gentle stream of cold running water to cool the berries and prevent them from cooking any further. This process is necessary to crack the outer skin of the blueberries and promote air penetration.
Empty the berries onto paper towels and let them air dry for 10 to 20 minutes.
Transfer the berries to as many as four baking sheets. Place them so they form a single layer. Use an estimate of about 1 to 2 lbs. of blueberries per tray as a guide.
Adjust your oven racks so there is a space of at least 1 inch between each tray.
Preheat your oven to 140 degrees F and then add the blueberries, leave the oven door ajar. For an electric oven, leave a 4 to 6 inch opening and leave a gas oven door open 1 to 2 inches.
Dry the blueberries for about 4 hours. Gently stir the berries with a spatula and rotate the baking sheets every 30 minutes during this time.
Transfer the baking sheets to cooling racks and let the blueberries come to room temperature before storing them in airtight containers.
Arrange the blueberries in a single layer on a baking sheet small enough to fit in your freezer.
Freeze the blueberries on the trays for about 12 hours.
Transfer the frozen berries to plastic food bags or plastic freezer containers and return them to your freezer.
- Freezing is the best way to preserve the shape and texture of blueberries. Thaw frozen blueberries in your refrigerator and add them straight from your freezer to muffin, pancake or bread batter.
- Process blueberries for drying or freezing within two days of the date you pick or purchase the berries. Before starting, sort through and remove any soft or watery berries, and then rinse them in a colander under cold running water.
Based in Green Bay, Wisc., Jackie Lohrey has been writing professionally since 2009. In addition to writing web content and training manuals for small business clients and nonprofit organizations, including ERA Realtors and the Bay Area Humane Society, Lohrey also works as a finance data analyst for a global business outsourcing company.
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