Search This Blog

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Blueberries Abound - dehydrating for gifts!

The blueberries abound at the Wyandotte Farmer's Market.  There is a very nice gentleman at the market who sells nothing but blueberries, and they are fresh picked and absolutely delicious!  It is almost too difficult to dry them instead of stuffing my face full all day long, but I also love blueberry muffins, so dry I must.

The first thing to do is wash them, and make sure all the stems are removed, and refrain from eating too many, or there will not be enough to make muffin mixes.
Blueberries that did not get eaten.

The next step is to decide if you want to break the skins to speed up drying, or dry them whole.  I prefer to follow this next step, because it is fairly simple, and saves a lot of drying time.  There are two ways to break the skins:  dropping the blueberries in boiling water, or pour boiling water over the blueberries.  I boil a pot of water, dump the blueberries in, and count to 30 quickly - I don't even throw in the "mississippi" between each number or wait for the water to start boiling again.  I then dump the berries back in the strainer, and rinse them with cold water.  Another way is to pour boiling water over them as they sit in a strainer in the sink.  Whatever you do, do not over boil these little guys.  Once the skins start to break, they will turn into mush quickly and will not dry nice.  Your only option at this point would be to puree them and turn them into fruit roll-ups.
Blueberries in the Dehydrator

Once the berries are cool, let them drain a bit, or you will have purple stains all over the bottom of your dehydrator.  Once they are drained, I place them on the dehydrator, making sure they do not touch.  For the smallest ones, I place them on the herb mesh inserts so they do not fall through.  I them set the temp for 135.F and dehydrate for about a day.  Because of the skin and inside pulp, it takes a longer time for them to dry.

Blueberries are done when they are just like raisins.  They should be leathery on the outside, but when you squeeze them, they should feel more solid, and not mushy, on the inside.  You will probably have to check and pull the done ones off, while others continue to dry.  Let the dried blueberries cool and then place them in an airtight container or zip-close bag.
Dried Blueberries 

Now that you have dried blueberries, you can use them in pancakes, waffles and muffins.  When making waffles and pancakes, I dump the dried blueberries in after everything is mixed, and then let the mix sit for a few minutes.  If the mix becomes too dry, as the blueberries rehydrate, I just add a bit more water or milk, until the consistency is the same before the blueberries were added.

If you want to make a blueberry muffin mix gift jar, here is how I do it:

In a pint jar, add:
     1 1/4 cups flour
     1/4 cup sugar
     1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
     1/4 teaspoon baking soda
     small pinch of kosher salt

Put the lid on the jar and shake the jar until all the ingredients are mixed.  On a kitchen towel, gently bounce the jar down several times to pack the dry ingredients down.  Don't slam the jar down without a towel, or too hard, or you risk braking the jar.  Once the dry ingredients are packed down, I fill the jar with about 1/2 cup of the dried blueberries, and put the lid back on.  I then attach a card with a list of the rest of the ingredients, and directions on mixing.  I then decorate with a ribbon to match the occasion of the gift.
Gift Jar of Blueberry Muffin Mix

The rest of the directions:
     1 egg
     4 tablespoons butter
     1/2 cup milk
     1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Mix wet and dry ingredients with a spoon and let sit for about 5 minutes, spoon mixture into greased or papered muffin tins, bake in a preheated oven at 375.F for 25 minutes, or until done. -Makes 10 - 12 muffins.

No comments:

Post a Comment