The best way to dry your raspberries

by Phil Lowe
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When the raspberry season arrives my kids and I are always excited to venture out to the back garden and go berry picking. Half the fun is in the picking and half the fun is of course, in the eating. Yet the saddest part of the raspberry season is that it ends too quickly. Before long my raspberry bush is bare and my kids and I must patiently wait for another year. One great way to make the raspberries last a little longer is to dry them out. Read on to learn how.

During the raspberry season, my bushes produce so many raspberries that we struggle to eat them all in time. We eat many, turn some into jam, and still have some leftover before the season ends. Lately, I have started to dry a large portion of my berries and have found it is a great way to get some extra life out of my raspberry bushes. When drying out raspberries there are two options. To dry them as a raspberry in their original form, or to dry them as a puree.

The whole option is the most straight forward so let’s start there. I will give my directions based on using an oven, but if you have dehydrator the process is similar but simpler. Preheat the oven to 60 degrees celsius. Now take your berries and make sure you have removed all stems and dirt that are on the berry. We want them clean and ready to eat. 

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Put the raspberry on a sheet of parchment cooking paper. After about four hours, check your berries and give them a little squeeze. If they are ready then when you push them no juice will escape. If dried completely they will even make a small rattling sound. Avoid the impulse to make them musical instruments and instead package them in an airtight container. 

While this is a great option, there is a better one. You can turn your raspberries into leather! Sort of. Allow me to explain. By drying out raspberry puree you can turn it into this hard strong substance that appears just like leather.

The first step is the same, heat the oven to 60 degrees celsius. Clean the raspberries and lay your cooking sheet just the same. Now place your raspberries, around two cups is a good idea, in the blender and start to process those berries. When it looks like a puree you are done. Let the puree go through a sieve to remove any unwanted seeds. Mix the puree with ¼ cup of honey and a spoon of lemon juice. Spread this mixed puree over your sheet on the cooking tray. The sheet should be around ⅛ to ¼ inch thick. Leave this puree in the oven for around six hours. When you remove it, it should be bendable. Place it on some plastic wrap and store it in an airtight container yet again.

When I was growing up my mum would sometimes treat me to fruit roll-ups in the supermarket. They were so tasty and amazing to look at, a child’s dream treat. However, they were only pretending to be healthy. While some fruit was used to make them there were so many ingredients in those roll-ups I might as well have been handed a stick of artificial sugars to eat. The recipe for raspberry leather is a healthy alternative to store-bought fruit rollups. These treats are so tasty that you may want to make a lot to satisfy your snack devouring kids. Actually, nevermind the kids, these treats are so good that you won’t want to share at all.

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