1. Dried Blueberries
Dried blueberries are powerhouses for rich blueberry flavor. “These are what you would get if you imagine a super concentrated blueberry,” Hunter says. “They have some citrus notes, like lemon, and even notes of black pepper. You can actually taste the tannins in this form.”
In addition to their bright purple hue, the texture of dried blueberries can be dense and similar to a fruit leather, as opposed to other types of dried fruit that may be crumbly, Hunter describes. “Dried blueberries will also rehydrate well and plump up with your liquid of choice,” he says. “I soak them in tea and use them for a blueberry milk tea that’s almost like a boba.”
To many chefs’ surprise, the natural pectin found in blueberries can offer a nice natural viscosity in recipes across the menu. Dried blueberries can be used to produce a wide range of textures from coarse to incredibly smooth.
“Dried blueberries are great for sauces and dressings you don’t want to use gums in,” Hunter says. “The natural pectin won’t make something super viscous and they give sauces a beautiful color. I recently made a roasted tomato and blueberry gazpacho with zaatar, sumac, and a crema on top. It came out almost magenta. Then I added fresh blueberries to create pops of color—the result was a nice sweetened and acidic soup.”