Storing home-dried blueberries

I just dried two large trays of wild blueberries (natural, unsweetened,just rinsed) and since they are not all the exact same size, some remained juicier than others. I let them cool and put them in a large plastic bag (for lack of a sturdy container at the moment) to equalize the moisture content between them but I am wondeing if I need to put the bag in the fridge while this is happening? The kitchen is somewhat hotter than regular room temperature these days and I worry that the moister ones might initiate spoilage before they give off their water since they aren't breathing in the closed environment. Would the fridge temperature have any negative effect on the process in terms of condensation? Thank you

  • Posted by: Droplet
  • July 25, 2012


SeaJambon August 2, 2012
Yay!! The miracle of proper "conditioning" (although that is the correct term, it always strikes me as odd, like I'm training the dried items to accept something... or maybe softening them like after shampooing...). Regardless of the terminology, you did well and should feel good about your efforts. :)
Nozlee S. August 2, 2012
Thanks for the update! I'm really glad that it worked out for you.
Droplet August 2, 2012
Just reporting back as requested: I moved the berries to a cooler room and kept shaking them several times a day. By the third day there were no more distinctly plump berries. The hard tiny ones softened and they all tumble freely now with little to no sticking at all. I noticed that the container was getting a bluish residue on the inside, and moved them to a new clean and dry one on the 5th day. Continued shaking and there is very little on the new one, which I consider a good additional marker. I am going to keep them out of the kitchen until cooler weather arrives and hopefully they will store ok without refrigeration.
SeaJambon July 25, 2012
I have to tell you -- I'm VERY impressed with you processing 20 lbs of wild blueberries! I just pitted 20 lbs of cherries, and that took forever. I can't imagine how long it took you to wash and sort the blueberries!

Without being able to actually see your blueberries it is hard to know the right answer, but if the tiniest are overdried, and the biggest aren't really all that much larger, I'd give the standard process a try. Knowing that kitchens can be quite warm (as can the whole place!) this time of year, I'd also suggest seeking out the coolest/driest place you can for the conditioning -- even if it turns out to be an odd place like under the bed! :)

Good luck, and let us know what happens (I'm honestly very curious -- you can reach me through the "cooks" feature on the site -- would love to know your actual results).
SeaJambon July 25, 2012
What you are talking about is "conditioning" the fruit (equalizing the moisture). It is a great question and ultimately I think it really depends on how much moisture is still left in the plumper ones. One option might be to sort the tiniest from the largest and put the tiniest in an airtight container for conditioning (usually takes about a week; remember to shake a couple of times a day so that the pieces don't stick together and to further help the moisture equalize) and put the largest back in your dehydrator/oven/sun drenched porch with a reliable breeze and low humidity... whatever drying method you used. Dry the biggest out a bit more, and condition them separately. Also, if there is a cool dry place (basement? garage? interior closet?) where you can do your conditioning, I'm thinking that would be a better choice than the fridge. I don't know why, but the idea of using the fridge doesn't strike me "right". Freezing would, of course, be another option but that kind of negates the whole purpose of the drying.
Droplet July 25, 2012
Thank you for the time frame referance, SeaJambon. I'd gladly sort through them,but they are wild gathered and tiny and after sorting, rinsing and processing almost 20 lbs of them, I am wishing to go an easier route if possible, without sacrificing them. With slightly larger fruit, I would have done that right away. Also the tiniest ones are overdried in my opinion and I was hoping to remedy that as well, by not separating them from the others. I used the oven with the fan on and the door slightly ajar. I will try to find a cooler place for them, and check on them daily through the week.
Droplet July 25, 2012
I was hoping that the ones that are completely dry (the tiniest ones are even hard to chew) will reabsorb the moisture to even things out. Already froze over 5 lbs, and was hoping to be able to keep the dried ones in a jar in the cupboard.

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Nozlee S. July 25, 2012
If there is still moisture present in the blueberries, I would store them in the freezer, well-wrapped. Even in the fridge, the blueberries that aren't fully dry may mold.
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