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Follow these simple steps to save blueberries for months
Be sure to wash and dry your blueberries before freezing them.
Blueberries are at their peak during the summer. If you want to take advantage and stock up on the berries while they’re in season, but aren’t comfortable canning, jarring, or making preserves, you should try freezing. Freezing fresh blueberries is a simple alterative that can extend the life of the fruit by several months.
Properly freezing blueberries is easy, but does require a few special steps. To start, wash the blueberries then pat them dry. It’s important that the berries are fully dried before you freeze them; this will prevent unwanted ice crystals from forming on their surface. Once the berries are cleaned and dried, lay them in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and place the baking sheet in the freezer. Leave the berries overnight so that they can freeze fully.
Once the individually berries have been frozen, you can transfer them to resalable plastic bags or containers before storing them in the freezer.
Kristie Collado is The Daily Meal’s Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter @KColladoCook.
How to Make Homemade Canned Blueberries - Easily! With Step-by-step Photos, Recipe, Directions, Ingredients and Costs
Looking for How to Make Homemade Canned Blueberries - Easily! With Step-by-step Photos, Recipe, Directions, Ingredients and Costs in 2021? Scroll down this page and follow the links. And if you bring home some fruit or vegetables and want to can, freeze, make jam, salsa or pickles, see this page for simple, reliable, illustrated canning, freezing or preserving directions. There are plenty of other related resources, click on the resources dropdown above.
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How to Freeze Blueberries
- Pick through the blueberries and throw out those that are too tender.
- Flash-freeze the berries to ensure they won&rsquot clump together in the freezer. Place them on a lined cookie sheet in a single layer. It&rsquos fine if they touch one another, but don&rsquot place berries on top of each another.
- Freeze the cookie sheet for an hour. Since blueberries are tiny, they won&rsquot need as long to freeze. However, if your freezer is almost full, give the berries an additional 2 to 3 hours in the freezer.
- Once the berries are frozen all the way through, transfer them into freezer-safe bags. Use a vacuum-sealer to seal the bags. If you don&rsquot have one, squeeze out as much air as you can before you seal the bags shut. If you want to further protect your berries from freezer burn, double-bag the berries. Or place your bag of berries in a freezer-safe container.
- Place the berries back into the freezer.
Frozen this way, blueberries will last 10 to 12 months in the freezer.
Here are Ways to Preserve Your Blueberry Harvest:
1. Freeze Them Clean
When I’m in a hurry, freezing is usually my first option. I actually used this method a lot over the past few weeks.
So you’ll complete this method by washing your blueberries. Depending upon how large your harvest is, you may or may not want to use a colander. My blueberry hauls have been so large that I put my strainer in the sink, fill it full of cold water, and then toss a few gallons of blueberries in the sink.
Then I roll them over and over to get all of the dirt and bugs off of them. When I think they may be clean, I put them into the other side of the sink and repeat the process until eventually, the water comes out clear.
But if you have a smaller batch of blueberries, then washing them in a colander will do the same thing.
Once you have clean blueberries, then you’ll need to spread them out on a cookie sheet. You’ll then place them in the freezer to flash freeze. Once they are frozen individually, you can toss them in freezer bags to store for a few months.
2. Freeze Them Dirty
My mom and I live about 400 miles apart. Though we don’t see each other every day, I try my best to call her every day.
Well, we were talking one day when I was preserving all of our blueberries, and she was telling me how she had spoken to one of her friends, and they told her how I could freeze my blueberries as is. Meaning, I didn’t have to go through the cleaning process.
I thought this would be a good method of preserving them if you are in a real rush, or if you don’t mind having to clean up your blueberries when you go to use them. It certainly seems faster.
So you’ll begin this process by picking the blueberries. Once you have them picked and in your kitchen, then you’ll skip the washing process. This is actually the longest part of the process when freezing so if you are in a hurry to throw them in a bag and move onto something else, then you’ll appreciate this method.
Then you’ll throw them on a cookie sheet to flash freeze them. If you aren’t picky about your blueberries sticking together, then you could actually skip this step too. The whole point of this process is to make it to where you can pull out frozen blueberries as needed. If you plan on using them a pack at a time, then just toss them into a freezer bag and move on.
But if you need your blueberries separated, then flash freeze them. Then you put them in a freezer bag and place them in your freezer to be stored for future use.
3. Blueberry Syrup
We have some good friends that come over to pick our blueberries from time to time. They do this because they love blueberry syrup.
So every time they get blueberries, they immediately turn it into a delicious syrup. You can make it very easily, then you can use it immediately or can it for later.
You’ll begin by washing your blueberries. Again, depending upon the quantity of blueberries, you can either rinse them in a colander, or you can wash them in bulk in your kitchen sink. It is up to you.
Then you’ll want to place the blueberries in a large pot. You’ll need to add about 7.5 cups of sugar per quart of blueberries.
Next, you’ll cook this mixture down until it is thick. I personally like chunks in my blueberry syrup because it tastes delicious when heated and poured over French toast or pancakes.
But if you like a smoother syrup, then you can run it through a food mill and then cook it down some more.
Once your syrup has reached the consistency you like, then add some lemon juice to the mixture to keep it from turning colors, and you are ready to roll. When I cook I don’t always measure like I should, so if you’d prefer a more in depth recipe, here is a great one to try out.
4. Blueberry Vinegar
If you love to cook with vinegar or make your own homemade salad dressings, then you’ll probably love this recipe for blueberry infused vinegar. It seems rather simple to make and also a great way to put that blueberry harvest to work for you.
So you begin by gathering a few ingredients. For every 1 pint of blueberries, you’ll need 2 tablespoons of sugar. Be sure to figure as closely as you can as to how many blueberries you’ve actually harvested.
Then you’ll also need an orange peel. Try to keep this in larger pieces so when you have to strain the vinegar away from the ingredients, it will make this process easier.
Finally, you’ll need some apple cider vinegar. You can purchase some here or make your own too.
To begin, you’ll want to place your cleaned blueberries in a large saucepot. The size of the pot may vary depending upon how many blueberries you have.
Also, remember when washing your blueberries, you can spray them with your faucet while they rest in a colander, or you can wash them in large quantities in your sink by submerging them in cold water in your sink.
Once you have your blueberries cleaned and in a saucepot, it is time to begin to crush them. The easiest way to do this is to take a fork and gently press down on the berries.
However, if you are like us, and harvesting blueberries at around 10 gallons at a time, then you may need to pull out your trusty potato masher to get the job done. It all depends upon how many blueberries you are working with.
Now that your berries are adequately crushed, you’ll want to add enough apple cider vinegar to the blueberries to where they are covered. You’ll also need to add the right amount of sugar for the number of blueberries you are working with. Remember, it is 2 tablespoons of sugar for every 1 pint of blueberries.
Then bring the mixture to a boil. Once it is boiling, turn it down to simmer and allow it to do so for about 3-4 minutes. When it is finished simmering, it will be time to place the mixture in mason jars.
However, do not use a typical metal lid. This can cause a negative reaction to the vinegar. You’ll probably just want to cover it with plastic wrap or a cheese cloth. Then place a canning ring over that to hold it all in place.
Once the mixture has cooled in the jars, place it in the fridge for a week. You’ll finish the process up by straining the mixture. This will separate the vinegar from the ingredients that went into making it. You can store it in these vinegar jars.
Then be sure to keep it in a cool, dark storage location so that your vinegar will last for around a year. What a fantastic way to preserve blueberries, and it requires very few resources to be able to do it.
5. Dehydrate Your Berries
I love the option of dehydrating blueberries because it requires very little to do it. You’ll just need a dehydrator.
Then you’ll wash your blueberries and place them on the appropriate dehydrating trays. If you have purchased a dehydrator, follow the instructions to know the appropriate time limits for blueberries.
But if you make your own dehydrator, then I recommend just checking the fruit every so often until you are satisfied with the way it looks, feels, and tastes.
Then you’ll place the dried fruit in sealable bags. You can use this fruit as a healthy snack or use some of these ideas.
6. Blueberry Jam
The blueberry jam I’ve worked on this week.
I love jam! That is actually probably an understatement, but I can’t help but think how amazing it is. I love the flavor, the texture, and the sweetness of it.
So when I began getting large amounts of blueberries, one of the first things I did was make jam with it. I followed this recipe to make my jam.
But I did make one small change. I’m someone that has to watch my sugar intake so I switched my jam to sugar-free. Instead of using regular sugar, I used a sugar substitute.
Now, a word of caution. I’ve learned to not use the same amount of sugar substitute as you do sugar. In my opinion, it will have this funky after taste. So use sparingly.
Other than that, my jam has turned out delicious. Then you can preserve your jam in a water bath. You just fill the canner with your jars.
Then place water all the way over the top of the jars. Bring the water to a boil and time for 5 minutes.
Next, remove the jars from the canner and allow them to sit for 24 hours to cool and ensure that all of the jars sealed. Once you know they have sealed, you can label them and store them on a shelf until you are ready to use them.
7. Can Your Blueberries Whole
If you like to keep your blueberries around in a whole form so you can turn them into blueberry pie filling later on when you have more time, then you’ll like this option.
Basically, you place your cleaned blueberries in cleaned and sanitized mason jars. Then create a simple syrup (which is equal parts sugar and water that has been heated) so you can pour it over the top of the blueberries.
Once you’ve done this, you’ll place sanitized rings and lids on the jars. Then you’ll process them in a boiling-water canner for 15 minutes (pints) and 20 minutes (quarts.) Remember to adjust your times according to your elevation.
8. Freeze Drying Your Blueberries
There are multiple different methods to freeze drying blueberries. You can freeze dry them in a freezer, using dry ice, or by using a vacuum chamber.
Now, I’m going to be truthful. I included this because a friend of ours is in love with the idea of freeze-drying food. They think it is more efficient and works well.
However, I think it is a rather expensive way to preserve food. So if you like to freeze dry food, and you already have the equipment to do so, then great.
But I wouldn’t run out and invest in it to experiment with. But it is your call.
So there are the 8 ways that you can preserve your blueberry harvest this summer. I hope that this will help you to put away food for the winter and not waste a single one of those berries.
But I’d like to hear from you. How do you preserve your blueberries? What is the best method in your opinion?
We love hearing from you so please leave us your thoughts in the space provided below.
How to Properly Freeze Fresh Blueberries
Take advantage of your fresh-picked berries or the great in-season sales at your local store and freeze your blueberries to last all through the cold months. This post will teach you how to freeze blueberries properly to avoid freezer burn and not turn them into a solid brick of berries.
Blueberries are typically in season from May through August in the northern hemisphere. Recently I found a great deal of local, organic berries, so of course I had to jump on it.
See, it says it itself- great buy.
In fact, I wish I jumped on it more, but two pints was a good starting place. Instead of just throwing them in the freezer, I took a few steps to guarantee their freshness.
1. Clean them with vinegar. This is actually a great tip whether you are freezing them or just prepping them fresh for the week. Using a diluted vinegar wash for berries cleans them, removes bacteria (says a study from Tennessee State University) and extends their shelf life.
Use 1 part vinegar to 8 parts water . Then place a colander in the water (for easier pickup) and add your berries.
Use your hands to mix them around, making sure they all get clean, then rinse thoroughly.
2. Pick out the stems while allowing berries to dry completely. Pull out the shriveled and squished berries and the stems.
Then, allow the berries to dry completely . Place them under a fan, get your hairdryer, or be patient and wait. Whatever your method, the berries need to be completely dry before freezing.
3. Place them in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet for freezing. If you throw them all into a bag at this stage, you’ll be dealing with a giant clump of frozen berries. I can’t tell you how many of those I’ve had to slam onto the counter to try and break up. Don’t skip this step.
4. Allow berries 2-3 hours to freeze solid, then transfer to an airtight container or freezer bag. The berries will come off the baking sheet easily. Then pour them into a heavy duty freezer bag and label.
The berries will stay good for 10-12 months if kept properly frozen. You’ll be able to grab them by the handful for smoothies or an afternoon snack. Or make a blueberry cobbler in mid-winter to keep yourself hanging on until warm weather returns.
So stock up of blueberries, maybe even go pick some yourself? And load up the freezer before blueberry season is behind us!
For more of my favorite food tips, click here.
What is your favorite way to use frozen fruit OTHER than smoothies?
How To Freeze Blueberries In Ziplock Bags
The best way to freeze blueberries in freezing ziplock bags. I had 20 pounds of blueberries from the local farm this season and freezing is a great way to preserve the crop. I have a small chest freezer now and can preserve some berries for the winter. Yes, we have blueberries all year round at the store but from the farm, it is much more aromatic and sweeter than the store berries out of the season. I don’t have to mention much less expensive too. Blueberries hold a very well shape after we thaw them. I take out frozen blueberries from my deep freezer and they are the perfect snack at the same minute because they are not stone hard. Looks like stone hard but very pleasant when you bite it. Frozen blueberries also a beautiful delicious garnish for desserts and beverages. I takeout berries and in a minute they have so pretty frost on them as you can see in the photo.
I like my blueberries clean for freezing. One of the reasons is we can’t able to use frozen berries as is. We need to wash berries before use and it makes many more complications to use frozen blueberries. I read just recently the direction on how to freeze blueberries on the website of the National Center For Home Food Preservation. They suggest no washing blueberries for freezing. Washing results in tougher-skinned blueberries. My family loves to eat frozen blueberries as-is and we didn’t notice tougher skin by the point I read about this:). I will continue freezing my prewashed blueberries and it is up to you which way you choose.
I have a vacuum sealer and tried to freeze in these bags too, works great. However, it is too expensive if use original bags for a vacuum sealer, in my opinion. Zipper bags for freezing work very well for me. My berries taste good and look good by the new season.
Recommended ⇒ How I Organize My Deep Freezer Chest (Tips And Ideas)
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 Freeze Blueberries
With blueberry picking season in full swing here in New Jersey one of the family fun activities that we do is pick blueberries. Not only is is a great activity that the whole family can enjoy but it saves a lot of money. I end up paying about $1 per pound of blueberries and it does not take very long either, my kids and I can pick about 10 pounds in 30 minutes.
Knowing How to Freeze Blueberries will save you a lot of money all year long since you can pick the blueberries and then freeze them to use them all year long. If you do not have a place to pick blueberries then you can snag them when they are on sale for rock bottom prices and then freeze them.
Bunch of blueberries on a blueberry bush
A single serving size of frozen blueberries is equivalent to one cup, or 140 grams. Each cup has 80 calories, 0 fat, cholesterol or sodium. A cup of frozen blueberries also contains 5 grams of dietary fiber, 19 grams of total carbohydrates, and 1 gram of protein. Blueberries are known for their antioxidants used in the fight against aging, cancer and heart disease.
- DON&rsquoT wash them. The water will freeze on the blueberries and they will be a sloppy mess when you defrost them. If you feel the need to clean them rub gently between a clean dry dish towel.
- Spread fresh blueberries on a cookie tray, preferably one with sides. Make sure the blueberries are in a single layer.
- Freeze till firm or over night
- Measure out a portion. I choose to do a 2 cup portion. I find that is what is called for in a lot of recipes. Plus that is what I need when I make blueberry pancakes!
- I have a seal and vac system so that is what I use. You can use freezer storage bags or boxes.
- Be sure to label them with the portion as well as the date.
The Right Way to Freeze Blueberries
Freezing blueberries starts with picking the correct blueberries and ends with bags of berries ready for use in jams and desserts. We'll show you how.
Come blueberry season, Grandma used to pick aprons full of these nutritious little fruits and sort them into four batches: one for pie, one for jam, one for fresh eating and one for freezing. Her pies and jam won ribbons at the county fair every year, and even the berry batch she froze made wonderful preserves and desserts the rest of the year. She had a few old secrets for freezing and using her frozen berries, which we’ll share with you here. Picking the right berries to begin with. Many people think that green, pink, red or lavender-colored blueberries will ripen after being picked, like bananas do. Not so blueberries stop ripening the second you pick them. There are exactly three ripe blueberries in the photo below, and those are the dark-blue ones. The rest are not ready. The best blueberries are large and velvety-blue if they have a bit of a powdery look to them, they will taste wonderful. Most any variety of blueberry is freeze-able, but we especially like the way Bluecrop, Chandler and Patriot hold up. Don’t wash them. Well, that’s not exactly true. Wash them, but not until immediately before you use them. Blueberries have a natural protective coating that keeps them from deteriorating. If you wash that off as soon as you bring your berries in, you’re unintentionally causing them to start going south.