Drying Berries

Josh(z8a)June 30, 2002

Just thought I'd mention drying berries which can be beautiful in fall/winter arrangements of dried or fresh material. Most dry well just by removing all foliage and standing stems in a jar (no water!). It's a little early but I've already got Blueberries (in the still pink/green state) picked, and later I'll pick Nandina berries in the green, then later a few in the yellowy-bronze state. I've had good luck with the Nandina even after berries turn red.

Another is Bayberry which is a lovely steely-grey color. (Just have to beat the birds to it!) And Pyracantha berries are easily dried,too, either green or after they turn red. I've even picked Poke-Sally (Phytolacca) in the green-berry stage with its deep red stems.

Anyone else's experiments with berries? jo

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josie_il_z5(z5IL)

Hi Josh

Carrion berries in the wild dry pretty well, but there is a problem sometimes with moths laying eggs inside so they are sort of a pain but I guess well worth it. They retain their dark blue color for quite some time.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2002 at 11:34PM
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pinecone(East Texas)

Nandina ~~I dry when red for Christmas.
I was just wondering if the East Texas Blueberry would dry good. It is a hybrid. Produced to grow in the hot heat!! It does not have the taste that you find in the ones up North. But it is better than none!!

    Bookmark   July 4, 2002 at 10:30PM
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Josh(z8a)

Pinecone, I'd think your Blueberries would dry fine...try a small branch and see. The immature/unripe almost always dry easily as they are still hard & firm. I like the varying colors from green thru pink to blue of each little cluster.

Also the red foliage in Fall is among the best foliage for drying. Doesn't yours have great scarlet color? jo

    Bookmark   July 5, 2002 at 7:37AM
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newfiepaws(Zone 6A MA)

Josh,
I know this may seem obvious, but can you use only berries that are not yet ripe? Also, when you dry berries, do you cut them in half first? Thanks.
Sharon

    Bookmark   July 7, 2002 at 8:41AM
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Josh(z8a)

Sharon, I don't cut the berries in half. This suggestion was not for "pressed" berries,but rather for berries remaining on the stem to be just stuck in a ceramic pot or added to an arrangement of dried grasses for instance.

The unripened berries usually do well, remaining firm and hanging on the twig. Sometimes the very ripe berries will fall off, or in the case of some berries, be too soft & mushy...just won't dry well. You can either pick them off yourself or just wait til they fall on their own. On most shrubs I've mentioned above in my first posting, the Blueberry and Pokesally berries are the main ones that the ripe berries don't dry well.

I forgot about Viburnum berries ...those might be a possibility, too. jo

    Bookmark   July 7, 2002 at 10:34AM
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corbeau(z7 DC)

I've decided to dry porcelain berries that I found on a walk today. Any advice? The berries are so beautiful I figure they would look great in an arrangement.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2004 at 6:15PM
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Josh(z8a)

Corbeau, I've seen the Porcelain Vine berries used often in fresh arrangements but haven't had access to them to try drying. (Once I saw a huge swath of them down the center of a table at the Museum...I was awfully tempted but my friend restrained me...lol) They are beautiful and certainly worth a try. I'd just experiment by standing in a vase with no water and see how they do. Let us know the results. jo

    Bookmark   October 25, 2004 at 4:20AM
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sylky00(z6 KY)

Josh, I'm glad you brought up the subject of berries-they add so much to arrangements,& are beautiful on their own.
You don't often see information about drying them.
I've seen Callicarpa mentioned before, in addition to the ones in the posts above. I dried some Hypericum berries from the florist last fall; they turned black, but stayed firm & attached to the stem.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2004 at 6:56PM
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Josh(z8a)

I tried Callicarpa several years ago, but to be honest, although I admire the color in the garden it really didn't mix well with my indoor colors. Probably if it dried well I passed it along to a friend...just don't remember how it turned out.

I've read that Hypericum berries dry well. I honestly try about everything...including seedpods of the Castoroil plant (Ricinus) and Sweetgum balls still on treelimb..I love how they dangle! If I had a veggie garden I'd let my leeks and onions go to seed for the seedheads and my okra dry on the stems for arrangements. It's an addiction! josh

    Bookmark   October 25, 2004 at 11:10PM
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