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How to solar dry blackberries?

Posted: Thu Aug 20, 2015 5:22 pm
by JT101
Hi everyone

Struggling with drying my blackberries. I'm aware of the main factors in solar drying i.e. goo air flow, heat and low humidity, but something isn't right.

I laid them out in my greenhouse on a raised screen during a few days of sunshine with the roof window open.
So the air would naturally rise up and out the roof, taking with it any moisture. Worked well for my plums.

However, for the blackberries, they seemed to stain the mesh they’re placed on with their juices, leaving a fairly empty tasteless body of pulp, skin and seeds which then dries.

You can see the result in the attached photo

Any suggestions welcome

20150817_210518.jpg (612.29 KiB) Viewed 4546 times

Re: How to solar dry blackberries?

Posted: Thu Aug 20, 2015 5:53 pm
by Zech
I've never tried drying blackberries - I'd have thought they'd be far too juicy. Mind you, I'd have thought that about plums, too, so that just shows what I know :lol:

One thing I have noticed about blackberries, though, is that they seem to go mouldy faster than anything else. I wonder if maybe your berries are decomposing faster than they're drying? Just a thought.

Re: How to solar dry blackberries?

Posted: Thu Aug 20, 2015 7:45 pm
by Green Aura
You a fair old mixed bag there jt. It looks like the ones that have disintegrated might have been overripe?

I wonder if you need to dry them over low heat - oven light etc or even on 50C. They may need to dry out a bit quicker than other fruit.

It can definitely be done, although I've never tried it I have bought dried blackberries, but I think they were freeze-dried.

Re: How to solar dry blackberries?

Posted: Fri Aug 21, 2015 7:59 am
by diggernotdreamer
I dried some blackcurrants, but in my dehydrator. I don't think it was a great success because of the amount of pips contained. Can I just ask, why are you drying them out? is it to make tea, If you wanted to preserve them for later use and you don't want to freeze them, could I suggest you bottle them or invest in a small dehydrator to do the job. I was looking and it can take up to 10 hours in a dehydrator, or as GA says, do it in a very low oven, with the door wedged open a little with a cloth to let out the moisture. Solar drying in the uk is tricky because of the humidity at night, you would need to bring them in and put them somewhere dry at night like the airing cupboard

Re: How to solar dry blackberries?

Posted: Thu Aug 27, 2015 10:00 pm
by JT101
Thanks for the responses everyone. I am drying them out to use as dried fruit in my cereals and added to my bread mix. Just seeing if it's doable with a few hot days in England by solar drying

Re: How to solar dry blackberries?

Posted: Thu Aug 27, 2015 10:29 pm
by Moonwaves
I haven't dried blackberries but that was because after my one attempt at drying raspberries I decided it just wasn't worth it. Took a long time (in an electric dehydrator, not a solar set-up, think it was something like 10 hours), they shrank to almost nothing and just didn't really taste good enough afterwards to justify it. Best option might be to try them in a fruit leather of some kind. Not sure if solar works for them but worth a try, I suppose.

Re: How to solar dry blackberries?

Posted: Sun Aug 30, 2015 8:39 pm
by Zech
Blackberry and apple fruit leather works well, and I have managed to solar dry that, after boiling the pulp for a while to reduce the liquid by quite a lot. So that's not really solar drying all the way, but I would have boiled anyway, however I was going to dry the leathers afterwards.

Re: How to solar dry blackberries?

Posted: Mon Aug 31, 2015 7:05 am
by ina
I always thought most berries contain too much water to dry successfully. However, I love those freeze dried berries with chocolate that you can buy (Lidl do them sometimes) - so I would try freeze drying if I ever got the chance!