Forget Raisins And Dry Blueberries In Your Oven For A Sweet Snack

dried and fresh blueberries in a wood bowl and scoop on a white surface
dried and fresh blueberries in a wood bowl and scoop on a white surface - Liudmila Chernetska/Getty Images

There's been a dried fruit revolution over the past few decades, coinciding with the popularity of bulk shopping. Raisins are still one of the most widely available dried fruit options, but they're often a controversial ingredient in households. If you've got raisin naysayers in your household or are simply ready for something new and exciting, dried blueberries are the perfect novelty. You can even avoid the elevated price of dried blueberries at the grocery store by drying blueberries at home.

You don't need a fancy dehydrator, either. All you need to dry blueberries at home is an oven, a baking sheet, and a little patience. Drying fruit requires a low and slow dry cooking method; even with a dehydrator, it can take a full day for the blueberries to dry out. All you have to do is wash and dry fresh blueberries, spread them over a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, and place them in the oven. Cooking times vary depending on the temperature and size of the blueberries. Some recipes call for drying blueberries at 135 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 hours, others for seven hours at 200 degrees Fahrenheit, and still others claim you can dry them out in three hours at 225 degrees Fahrenheit.

Dried blueberries are plump and chewy with a concentrated blueberry flavor that's rich and sweet. Plus they'll last for up to a year in an air-tight container, so you can enjoy a burst of summer berries even in the dead of winter.

Read more: 13 Simple Tricks To Pick The Best Fresh Fruit Every Time

Tips For Enhancing Dried Blueberries And Ingredient Pairings

dreid blueberries and nuts on a broccoli salad in an off-white bowl
dreid blueberries and nuts on a broccoli salad in an off-white bowl - irina2511/Shutterstock

Whether you opt for the lowest, slowest drying method, or the quickest, check the blueberries often to ensure they aren't burning. Some recipes recommend blanching fresh blueberries so that their skin bursts, resulting in a sweeter, more vibrant dried blueberry while also speeding up drying times. If you'd rather not use an oven, you can try the microwave or air fryer; Using the defrost setting on the microwave, dried blueberries could be ready in as little as 30 minutes.

When the blueberries come out of the oven, they should look dry and shriveled without any juice or residual stickiness. After letting them cool, you can use them in any number of recipes as a raisin substitute in trail mix, danishes, cereal, or oatmeal. You could also add them to brownies, chocolate bars, and cheese plates.

Blueberries and lemons are a classic pairing, so dried blueberries would taste delicious in a lemon pound cake or lemon poppyseed muffins. You could even drop them into lemonade or a summery clericot to infuse flavor and rehydrate, adding a chewy pop similar to tapioca balls. And, they'd be a sweet and chewy contrast to savory green salads topped with toasted pecans and feta cheese.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.