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Raspberries are a versatile fruit that can be eaten fresh as well as macerated for sauce and topping or even to sweeten an otherwise savory sauce. Dried raspberries have a slightly less versatile niche, appearing in trail mixes, cereal and morning yogurt. Made by dehydrating, freeze-drying or even sun-drying the fruit, these treats can either be eaten as-is or rehydrated just before mealtime.
The main at-home methods for preparing dried raspberries are by slowly heating them in the oven or under the sun. Before either of those can happen though, the undamaged fruit is washed, stripped of all stems, and prepared for drying. This might involve a quick blanching in boiling water, followed by submersion in ice to keep the fruit from cooking completely through. Others might pretreat the fruit with a natural preservative like pectin or ascorbic acid. Before the drying begins, the fruit should be dried of all visible moisture.
Sun-dried raspberries are a possibility in high-heat climates. The fruit is laid out during the day under the sun on screens, turning the fruit over at the halfway point and protecting it from dew at night. It could take as few at two or as many as four or more days for fully dried raspberries.
To avoid this time-consuming process, many use an oven to prepare dried raspberries in about 10 hours. A common temperature is 100°F (about 38°C), propping the oven door open with a kitchen utensil to let the steam from the raspberries escape. If the fruit will be consumed in the coming days or weeks, many just store it in an airtight container out of the sunlight. For long-term storage, a quick pasteurization is advised, which can be achieved by spending a few days in the freezer to kill off any remaining living organisms.
When dried completely, raspberries will be leathery but not difficult to chew. The longer they are left to dry out, the tougher they become. Some eat them all by themselves, use them as one of several trail mix ingredients, or rehydrate them for reconstituted use in any number of recipes.
Another easily recognizable way to preserve raspberries is by making fruit leather. This type of treat involves creating a puree of several fruits — or just raspberries — with water or fruit juice, sweeteners like honey, sugar and vanilla, and seasonings like cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. The mixture is then spread thinly on a baking sheet lined with plastic wrap and left in an oven set to 140°F (about 60°C) for as long as half a day. This should result in a thin, leathery sheet of dried raspberry jam.
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