Learn how to dry aronia berries (Chokeberries) at home!
Drying aronia berries (chokeberries) is a great way to preserve your summer bounty for winter. These fruits are commonly found in cold climates and are gorgeous, small, black berries. They have a tart, astringent taste.
SEE ALSO: 9 Health Benefits of Dried Aronia Berries (Chokeberries) and Nutrition Facts
Since aronia berries grow in lots of temperate climates, their season is not very long. Drying is one of the best ways to ensure that you have great aronia berries all year long. Plus, drying these berries helps to make the taste sweeter and milder (fresh aronia berries are too tart for some people).
You can buy dried aronia berries but drying aronia berries yourself is incredibly easy.
Here is a guide to the process, including different drying methods.
How to Dry Aronia Berries (Chokeberries)
Preparing aronia berries for drying
For best results, you need to prepare the aronia berries before beginning the drying process.
- First, make sure that you clean the berries thoroughly. You don’t want to contaminate your dried berry mix with stuff you wouldn’t want to eat, and all sorts of things can get mixed in when you pick your berries fresh.
To clean your berries, make sure that you pick out any twigs, leaves, or rotting and mushy berries. Remove the stems as well, and any hard bits that will be unpleasant to eat later on. When you dry the berries, you want to have only good fruit.
- Then wash the berries thoroughly. You want to rinse away any contaminants or dirt that is on them. Dry the berries thoroughly in a colander or by patting them dry. You don’t want any excess moisture on the berries as that will make it even harder for them to dry out.
For most drying methods, you will need to spread the berries out evenly in a single layer. You want them to have plenty of space so that they can dry evenly.
Drying Aronia Berries at Home
There are several different methods for drying aronia berries (chokeberries). Depending on what you have available to you, you can use a convection oven, dehydrator, or the sun. Each method has its pros and cons but will ultimately result in dried berries.
How to dry aronia berries in the oven
One of the most common methods is to dry aronia berries in a convection oven. It’s important to use a convection oven because when the air circulates, it helps the berries dry out.
This method is recommended for use with a convection oven, not a regular oven because a regular oven does not circulate enough air. If you have a regular oven, you can just crack open the oven door to let air circulate (although read up on safety first) or try out one of these other methods.
- To get started, preheat the oven to 120–140 degrees Fahrenheit (50–60 degrees Celsius).
- Spread the berries out evenly onto two baking sheets.
- Then put the berries in the oven and let them dry for an hour or two until they shrivel up and are hard to the touch. During the drying process, you can shake the trays every so often to make sure that the berries get exposed to the drying air evenly.
SEE ALSO: What You Need to Know to Successfully Dehydrate Food in the Oven
How to dry aronia berries with a dehydrator
A dehydrator is a faster, less energy-consuming way of drying chokeberries since its only function is to remove moisture from food.
- Lay your berries out on a clean tray and put them in the dehydrator. Most experts recommend setting the machine at 135 degrees Fahrenheit and watching the berries carefully for them to dry.
- On average 3-5 hours are enough.
- Another method of using the dehydrator is to grind the chokeberries into a pulp, shape them into patties, then put them in the machine.
A dehydrator ensures that you get the best results, but if you don’t dry food often, it’s not an efficient use of your money or counter space, so one of the other methods would work better.
Air-drying aronia berries
Finally, the old-fashioned way of drying chokeberries is drying them in the air.
- First, look at the weather forecast and make sure that you have several days in a row of sunny, windy weather.
- Then, spread the fruit out onto trays or sheets. Protect them from birds and bugs with netting.
Air-drying chokeberries is the most affordable method, but it is also the longest as it takes several days.
How to Store Dried Aronia Berries
After drying your chokeberries, make sure that they cool down completely before storing them to prevent condensation.
Then, store your berries in an airtight container such as a glass jar. Put them in a cool, dry place such as a cupboard or the fridge.
When stored properly, dried aronia berries can last for a year. The extended shelf life is a great reason to go through the drying process.
SEE ALSO: How to Store Dried Fruits at Home