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Tuesday, March 8, 2022

The Best Way to Freeze Dry Blueberries With Harvest Right Freeze Dryer

Learn how to freeze dry blueberries at home with a Harvest Right freeze dryer.  Freeze drying is an excellent way to preserve your harvest, or you can use frozen blueberries from the store.  Freeze dried blueberries make a delicious snack or use them in recipes.  

How to Make Freeze Dried Blueberries

We love blueberries in our house.  We use them mainly for blueberry muffins and pancakes, but we also eat these freeze dried blueberries as a healthy snack.

We have one blueberry bush, but the birds and the chickens always get to the berries before we do.  We'd only get a few cups of berries from it anyway.

I buy blueberries from the farmer's market so I can get fresh blueberries for freeze drying and preserving in my blueberry jam canning recipe.

I used to freeze the berries or make dehydrated blueberries in my dehydrator, but then I learned the best way to freeze dry blueberries to preserve them.

For more freeze drying recipes, check out these posts:

Keep track of your inventory and batch times with a printable freeze drying log book

What is the Difference Between Dried Blueberries and Freeze Dried Blueberries?

Dried fruits tend to be chewy, dense, and have a firmer texture.  Freeze dried fruit is lighter and crispy or crunchy.

Dehydrated food loses about 90 to 95 percent of the water content.  When you learn how to make freeze dried blueberries, you'll remove 98 to 99 percent of the water.

This can alter the texture of the food, and it also affects how long the food can be preserved.  Properly dehydrated blueberries can last about 6 to 12 months at room temperature.  However, they can draw moisture from the air and go bad.

When you learn the best way to freeze dry blueberries, they will last 10 to 15 years if properly stored in a mylar bag with an oxygen absorber.

I store my freeze dried blueberries in mylar for long term storage and keep a quart mason jar on the counter for snacking and baking.  I also use my vacuum sealer attachment to preserve them longer on the counter.  (Note: you do need the FoodSaver machine to use the attachment.)

I was buying mylar bags on Amazon, but the quality just wasn't there.  I decided to spend a little more and buy the Harvest Right mylar bags and oxygen absorbers.  

They are a little more expensive, but they are high quality.  You can also reuse them.  

Can You Freeze Dry Blueberries at Home?

Yes, you can learn how to freeze dry blueberries at home.  You can use a Harvest Right freeze dryer to make freeze dried food at home. 

It's an investment, but I think it's a worthwhile investment for a homestead.  It's the easiest and best way to preserve food for long term storage.

Can You Freeze Dry Frozen Blueberries?

Yes, you can absolutely learn how long to freeze dry blueberries from frozen.  You can either buy frozen berries and put them directly on the tray to run or pre freeze your berries.

I almost always pre freeze when I freeze dry just to save time.  From my records, it does save an hour or two.  

Since my freeze dryer runs almost constantly, those few hours really help me get more food processed.  I bought an extra set of trays so I can run one set and have another set freezing for the next load.

Can You Freeze Dry Whole Blueberries?

Yes, you can learn how to make freeze dried blueberries whole.  However, blueberries have a tough outer membrane.  While you can run them whole, it's best to either cut them in half or pierce them to break the membrane.

There are a few different tricks to cutting the membrane.  You can either use a knife to cut them in half or use a skewer to pierce each one.

Some people use a brand new dog brush with stainless steel bristles.  It's self cleaning, so it's easy to clean between piercings.

If the thought of using a dog brush grosses you out, you can also use a stainless meat tenderizer.  This works best on frozen blueberries.  It can quickly turn fresh blueberries into mush.

What Do Freeze Dried Blueberries Look Like?

When you learn how to freeze dry fresh blueberries, you might be surprised what they look like.  They retain their color, but they do shrivel.  They very much resemble dehydrated blueberries.

Are Freeze Dried Blueberries Crunchy?

If you follow these tips for the best way to freeze dry blueberries, your berries should be crunchy.  If they are not crunchy, then they need more drying time in the Harvest Right freeze dryer.

They should not be chewy or soft or they are not done and can spoil during storage.

How Long Does it Take to Freeze Dry Blueberries?

You can make freeze dried blueberries in about 16 hours in a Harvest Right freeze dryer.  The time will vary depending on the water content and if you pre freeze the berries before freeze drying.

Luckily, the Harvest Right does all of the work for you.  You just need to press a button and check the screen every few hours to see where it's at.

How Long Do Freeze Dried Blueberries Last?

Once you learn how to freeze dry blueberries, you'll have to store them properly.  Here are some ways to store them and how long they should last:

  • Store freeze dried blueberries in mylar bags with an oxygen absorber for the longest shelf life.  They should last 10 to 15 years.
  • You can also store your freeze dried berries in a mason jar with an oxygen absorber.  This will last for 6 months or so, depending on humidity.  Use a vacuum sealer for longer shelf life.
  • Finally, for short term storage, store in an airtight container on the counter.  They will last for a few weeks.  This is best for keeping some berries out to snack on.

How to Use Freeze Dried Blueberries

After you learn how to freeze dry blueberries at home, you might wonder how to use them.  You can eat them as a delicious snack or try one of these 27 recipes with freeze dried fruit.

Here are more ways to use freeze dried blueberries:

You can also rehydrate your freeze dried blueberries.  To do this, use 1 part blueberries and 3 parts water.  Let the berries rehydrate for 20 minutes.  Then drain and use in your recipe.

If you add freeze dried blueberries to a recipe, then you will need to add extra liquid so the berries can absorb it.

Freeze Dried Blueberries Ingredients

You only need blueberries to learn how to freeze dry blueberries at home.  

I have the medium Harvest Right, so I can process 10 pounds of food at once.  This is about 12 pints of blueberries.  

How Do You Freeze Dry Blueberries?

Step #1

Wash and dry the blueberries.  Then pierce with a knife or skewer.  Spread in an even layer on the freeze drying trays.  Place in the freezer if you want to pre freeze your blueberries.

Step #2

Place the trays in the Harvest Right freeze dryer.  Select Frozen or Not Frozen and follow the prompts on the screen.

Step #3

When the freeze dryer is done, check the berries.  They should be crunchy.  If they aren't, add extra drying time.  Press warm trays if needed.  Do not store cold fruit from cold trays because it can attract moisture from the air.  

My berries took about 16 hours to freeze dry.  Add more time as needed.

Package in mylar bags or in mason jars for short term storage.

Now you know how to make freeze dried blueberries!

How to Freeze Dry Blueberries at Home was originally published at Homesteading in Ohio.

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