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Prep and be calm
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It is berry time around my home and I'm being inundated with raspberries. I have a 12 ft by 4 ft row bearing heavily because of recent rains.

In past years I've ended up loosing a lot of the crop because we could not eat that quantity fresh and I didn't have the time to save them. On top of it no one in my family wants to have the amount of sugar used to make jam. The ratio of sugar in most jams is at least 40% sugar. The sugar isn't just used to sweeten, it is also used to thicken the jam.

Problem solved: Last year I saw on youtube that raspberries dry nicely. So I dried several trays. And they were lovely all year. This year I am drying as many as I can pick that don't make it into our mouths. And on a whim I tried something. I pureed the dried berries into a powder -- and the color and smell and taste of the powder was very fresh and good. So then I decided to reconstitute some of the powder with warm water until it was a thick spread. To this I added some stevia (Truvia brand) and a few spoons of Xylitol. Each of you probably have your own favorite sweetner. Even if you use straight sugar the amount used is just to sweeten to taste, not thicken the jam. Two spoons of Xylitol to a 1 pt jar seemed to be ample sugar. If you are diabetic then use only non-caloric sugar substitute. It is still delicious "jam" or raspberry fruit spread and is available all year long from the dehydrated raspberries -- made when needed.
 

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This year will be my first real harvest of raspberries, and it looks like it's going to be a bumper crop. I was planning to freeze the extra, but it sounds like drying is a better option.

Any additional suggestions about drying?
 

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Prep and be calm
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I've found drying raspberries amazingly simple. Pick them as gently as you can to keep the berry in tact. They need no extra prep. Spread them over the drying tray evenly one deep -- not crowded and set the dryer at a medium low heat. They take about 24 hours in a standard food dryer. I have an Excalibur 5-tray.
 

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What do you do to them to rehydrate them? How do you prepare them to eat once they have been dehydrated?
I don't bother rehydrating, I eat dehydrated fruits as is, or throw them in a bowl of cereal (hot or cold), into yogurt, or into baked goods just the way they are. It's different than fresh fruit but I actually love the taste and texture of dehydrated fruits.

Another good thing with raspberries, blackberries those sorts of berries, dry them up into fruit leather. I actually can't eat too many raw of those kinds of berries I grew up highly allergic to the seeds (out grew the allergy), so the only way I could eat them is in seedless jams or in fruit leather where the seeds were removed before hand, while I love the taste of the fruit the seeds to me are VERY foreign and must go away. So smash through a sieve removing the seeds, and make fruit leather... great snack and great way to get kids to eat it that has no sugar added.
 

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Prep and be calm
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I use the dried raspberries either by throwing them in hot cereal or making the "jam" fruit spread. They are great as little flavorful snacks just as they are -- dried (just like you eat dried grapes as raisins).

Fruit leather is also good but the texture and flavor of raspberry fruit leather is too intense by itself for my tastes. I would dry fresh raspberry puree with applesauce or banana or other fruit to make a leather.
 
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