The Berry Latest 
Newsletter Issue: Dried Blueberries - Winter 2013

US Highbush Blueberry Council E-newsletter

   

 

Dried Blueberries!

Blueberries are hot in the food business!  We always say: fresh is best, frozen is super. Now dried blueberries are perfect for the whole range of intermediate and low-moisture products and snacks!  

When dried blueberries were first introduced a few decades ago, most went into the snack category and blends.  Trader Joe's made them famous!  Now they are used in cereal bars, confectionery, snack mixes and even pet foods!  Check out the wide range of functional blueberry ingredients.

 

Great presentation of the "health halo!"

 

 

Hot Cereal in Chilly Hungary!

 

 

 

Dried blueberries hold up structure in frozen foods. (Canada)  

 

 

Chocolate bar with dried blueberries in- Korea

 

 

Australia's Monster Muesli with dried blueberries

 

Blueberries as a dried fruit!  The time has come.  Ten years ago you had to seek them out at specialty stores.  Now they are available in grocery stores as food ingredients here in the USA and abroad.    It takes about 3.5 kg/lbs to make one lb of an infused-dried blueberry.  What a great way to get your half-cup a day--year round.  Give them a try!

 

- Tom Payne
USHBC Food  Industry Consultant

 

 

 

Where to get 'em!

Dried blueberries are in plentiful supply across the nation and local food distributors.  A list of current suppliers is located on the USHBC Supplier Database at blueberrytech.org

 

 

 

Freeze Dried/Microwave Dried Blueberries Some food formulations require even lower moisture than is possible with air dry processes.  Traditional freeze drying (lyophilisation) is used to quick freeze and vacuum moisture from  a blueberry. This gets the blueberry to a crunchy 2 % moisture level where it is crunchy.  The freeze dry blueberry maintains all of the nutrients of the blueberry minus the water and an intense blueberry flavor. This was originally developed for armed forces rations which extended shelf life. Now freeze dry blueberries are a standard in low-moisture breakfast cereals and candy products. (Also military combat rations) Now new microwave drying processes are providing even more low moisture options. (more on this new product in an upcoming Berry Latest)

Low-moisture products are also milled into powders which are used extensively in the health food and supplement area.

 

Dried Blueberries - fruit of the forest.

Native American and First Nations in Canada were certainly the inventors of dried blueberries.  Early explorers described the drying of wild forest blueberries in the summer for the long winters in the northlands.  Meats were blended and preserved with blueberries to create the original jerky called pemmican!  Early pioneer explorers like Lewis and Clark and David Thompson relied upon blueberries in their journeys across the wilderness.  

How and Why:  - Blueberries are normally at an 80% moisture level which makes them so juicy.  In order to preserve a blueberry the moisture must be reduced to around 20% or lower, or else moisture must be exchanged with a humectant such as sweeteners to place the product at a state of equilibrium.  You will find a whole range of dried blueberries for specific uses and utilizing various processes.

Air Dried Blueberries -  Fresh or frozen blueberries are dried with hot air to a moisture level of around 11-15 percent moisture.  It takes about 6.5 lb/kg of blueberry to yield one.  This is normally a nice chew and is used in snacks and breakfast cereals.

Infused Dried Blueberries - Fresh or frozen blueberries are dipped in a soda solution to soften the skin and then are tanked in a syrup or fruit juice concentrate solution. The liquid is specially engineered to be heavier than the interior moisture of the blueberry and also fid the microscopic pores.  The liquid will enter the interior through osmosis and drives the water from the blueberry.  In hours the product is infused and shelf stable.   The wet product is then air dried to between 15-20 percent moisture.   This is the most common dried blueberry product.  It is important to note that this is a primary product and not a by- product of squeezing blueberries for juice.   The skins of the blueberry contain most of the pigments and other beneficial substances.  The water activity of the infused dried blueberry is ideal for snack mixes, breakfast cereals.  The product is shelf stable for more than a year at moderate room temperatures.  It takes around 3.5 lb/kg to make 1 lb/kg of dried blueberries.  

Preserved Blueberries -  This is an intermediate moisture product made from the above described infusion process.  The product is not further dried after infusion and is shelf-stable in 18 to 28 percent moisture levels.  It is perfect for muffins and ice creams and is appealing to food processors and bakers in regions like Mexico and Caribbean where frozen blueberries are sometimes not readily available.  These osmotically preserved blueberries are shelf stable for more than a year at moderate storage temperatures.  

 

Make sure it is real!

The consumers want real blueberries.  Check out the label, and note there are a number of "blueberry analogs" on the market.  Real blueberries come only from the blueberry bush!

 

Notice:   You are receiving this e-newsletter as we have met at some time at a trade show or you have a connection or like for blueberries.  If you do not want to receive, let me know and I will immediately remove.  We do not share e mail addresses to anyone anywhere.  Thanks for joining the Berry Latest family!  

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tpayne@blueberytech.org  

Published by the US Highbush Blueberry Council (USHBC)

Published by http://www.blueberrytech.org- USHBC- c/o Thomas J. Payne, 865 Woodside Way, San Mateo, CA 94401 Copyright © 2013