Fresh blueberries make for a great pie filling and can be eaten plain as part of your breakfast or as a delicious, healthy snack. Did you know that blueberries are a good source of antioxidants as well? So, they’re not just tasty but also good for you.
We love using blueberries as a garnish for oatmeal, cereal, salad, and desserts. Buying fresh blueberries ensures you get as many health benefits as possible out of them, but once the blueberries start to spoil, you’ll have to toss them. How often has that happened to you? It always feels like such a waste, especially since this fruit can be kind of expensive.
Our recommendation for keeping blueberries fresh and packed with nutrients is to freeze them. They can store for a long time this way, and when you are ready to use them, they will still be tasty and nutritious. How to freeze fresh blueberries properly? We’ll show you with this handy guide that will help you avoid making the common freezing and storage mistakes some people make with blueberries.
How to Freeze Fresh Blueberries Whole
Blueberries are really easy to store frozen. You don’t have to blanch them or specially prep them like you would with a lot of other fruits and veggies. They store very well being simply placed in a plastic freezer storage bag.
Be sure the bag you use is designed for freezer storage. Otherwise, the blueberries may go bad, and you might lose your batch. It’s a good idea to use a resealable bag so that you can take out what you need from the freezer and store the rest back. It’s okay if the blueberries are not separated in the bag. If they become a frozen chunk, you can always break off what you need and keep the rest in frozen storage. You won’t damage their freshness, taste, or nutrients by breaking some of them apart while in the freezer.
How to Wash and Freeze Fresh Blueberries
Do you need to wash your blueberries first before placing them in the freezer? Experts agree it’s not necessary. They can store just fine without being washed, but you will need to wash them right before you use them.
To wash your blueberries before use, run them under cold water. This removes dirt and other particles as well as pesticides, if they were used. You should pat them dry before use.
You can wash the blueberries before putting them in the freezer if you like, though. How to wash and freeze fresh blueberries? Just rinse them off under cold running water and then dry them off with a paper towel. Transfer them into freezer bags from there and they will store nicely.
If you wash the blueberries before you freeze them, then it won’t be necessary to wash them again when you are ready to use them. Be careful about washing your fruit before freezing, though, as they need to be dried completely before being placed into the freezer. This is very important because any leftover water on the blueberries will cause them to develop freezer burn very quickly.
The Problem with Freezer Burn
We told you how to best freeze fresh blueberries- by not washing them. If you do want to wash them first, you risk causing freezer burn when the blueberries are not dried properly. This is irreversible, so be very careful that you don’t let it happen. That’s right- once freezer burn occurs, there is nothing you can do about it.
Is freezer burn dangerous? No, it doesn’t cause any health problems for you and you can eat fruit that has freezer burn on it, but it might not taste very good. When fruits like blueberries experience freezer burn, it adversely affects their taste and texture. You won’t get that full flavor and juicy texture from them if they were damaged in the freezer.
If that happens and you still want to use the blueberries, then you may want to mix them into a pie or yogurt to hide the taste and texture a bit. Cooking blueberries is a good way to hide freezer burn, but like we said, that lovely blueberry taste won’t be as strong after they have been damaged.
How to Store Frozen Blueberries
You want your blueberries to be stored properly so that they don’t get freezer burn and so that they stay fresh for a long time. The way you store them is important, but the good news is that there are plenty of good ways to store your frozen blueberries.
How to freeze fresh picked blueberries so that they stay good in the freezer? The key is to use a freezer safe storage method. So, a plastic bag or a plastic container will be fine. These need to be airtight to prevent bacteria from getting in and spoiling your blueberries.
You can store the blueberries however you like in the freezer. They can be laid flat on a shelf or put into the deep freeze in a pile of other bags of frozen food. They can sit by themselves or be smothered by other foods. You can store them in large containers or small ones. They don’t have to be tightly packed at all.
There is lots of room for improvisation and doing things however would be most convenient for you. The key to how to freeze fresh blueberries and strawberries, though, is that they be dry when you freeze them and that they be placed in the proper bags or containers for freezing. Other than that, it doesn’t really matter.
How Long Do Frozen Blueberries Last?
We freeze our fruits, veggies, and meats to make them last long, so that anytime we want them we can pull them out of the freezer and enjoy.
When you know how to freeze fresh blueberries properly, they will store safely for up to 10 months. You can take them out at that point and thaw them out or cook them up and they will still be edible and safe to eat.
If you want to maximise the taste potential and make sure that are still bursting with blueberry flavour, then you should use them within six months. Freezing them does not make them last forever, and after a while, they will lose some flavour and not taste as good. Still, freezing preserves them much longer than the 5-10 days that you would get from fresh blueberries stored in the fridge.
How to Use Frozen Blueberries
Now that you understand how to freeze fresh blueberries whole, you ought to know how to take them out of the freezer and prep them for use.
If you are going to cook with blueberries, you can use them frozen. They are actually going to work better for you that way, as they are less likely to sink into the food or burst while they are being cooked. So, you can use them frozen in your pies, tarts, and other desserts without thawing them out or running them under some water first. You should rinse the blueberries, though, if you didn’t rinse them before freezing them.
If you want to use frozen blueberries in your cereal, oatmeal and other foods where fresh blueberries are called for, then you can let them thaw out first. We don’t recommend defrosting them in the microwave, since that can take away some of their flavour. Blueberries are very delicate, and microwaving is almost never recommended. If you defrost them in the microwave, you can end up with very soggy blueberries that don’t retain their proper texture and that will taste diluted.
If you want to thaw them out before use, you can put your blueberries under running water or place them in a bowl of cold water. This will help them keep their flavour and prevent them from becoming soggy.
You can also thaw your frozen blueberries in the refrigerator, letting them sit there for about a day to lose their ice. Place them in a container that will catch the ice as it melts so that you don’t have a mess in the refrigerator.
You know now how to freeze fresh blueberries and how to use them, so there isn’t any need for them to go bad if you buy too many. Most of us only use a few blueberries at time, so it’s good to know that you can safely store them away in the freezer for a few months and pull them out when you need them. The next time you find blueberries on sale, don’t be afraid to buy a bunch and freeze them until you are ready to cook with them. They will still taste great and be packed with nutrients for you to benefit from.