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?