Everyone loves freshly bought or picked blueberries and the burst of flavor they bring to a variety of dishes—be it pancakes, pie, or muffins.
But you don’t have to worry when the blueberry season’s over—you can always buy enough to store for a few months and store them in your freezer.
Many people don’t realize that frozen blueberries can be used for the same dishes as fresh blueberries. Once you’ve taken them out of the freezer and allowed them to thaw, there isn’t much of a difference in the unique taste and flavor they bring to your recipe.
Here’s what you need to know about freezing and storing blueberries.
How to freeze blueberries
The question shouldn’t be: Can you freeze blueberries? Rather, it should be how you should freeze them so that they’re fit to use when you take them out weeks or even months later.
Here are some ways you can go about freezing blueberries.
Store blueberries in the freezer
When you store blueberries in your freezer, you can freeze them as they are without rinsing them. Rinsing them takes away their natural coating, called the bloom, which protects them from bacterial growth. It also protects them from sticking to your dish or tray in the freezer.
- Lay all the berries out in one layer on a baking sheet and put them in the freezer for around four to five hours. When they’ve frozen (and are solid), transfer the sheet to a freezer-safe dish that has a lid. This allows the berries to stay in the freezer for a longer period. You can also transfer them to freezer bags or Ziplocs so that they’re easier to take out and use in smaller quantities.
- You should always freeze the blueberries in single layers or else they will stick to each other and can also deform or smush the bottom layers. It’s also best to transfer one layer at a time to a container or Ziploc after the initial freezing stage is completed.
- Before freezing, making sure you remove any stems and rotten blueberries that have made their way into the bunch.
How to use frozen blueberries
If you want to use your blueberries when they’re still frozen, you’ll be surprised to know that apart from smoothies, you can also place frozen blueberries directly on muffins before making, or added to your oatmeal and yogurt without waiting for them to thaw.
All you have to do is rinse them and proceed to use them in your recipes.
It’s also best to rinse only a few minutes before you need to use them, and not have them rinsed from before because they might lose their shape and texture.
How to defrost blueberries
When defrosting blueberries, it depends on what you need to use them for. For instance, if you need to put them in a fruit smoothie, you can just directly use the frozen blueberries after rinsing them down. However, if you need to use them for a recipe which requires baking, all you have to do is submerge the blueberries in the water at room temperature.
- You need to keep them in the water for around five minutes for every cup of blueberries there are.
- Afterwards, strain the water out, dry the blueberries, and then use them in your recipe
- To dry the blueberries, you can pat them dry with a paper towel. Do so gently, as they’re more sensitive when they’ve thawed, especially when they have been rinsed.
- Another way of defrosting blueberries is to take them out in a bowl and let them sit for around an hour at room temperature. This helps you retain their juices, so they taste great in the recipe you use them for. After they’ve been sitting for an hour, you can rinse them gently and then use them in pies, pancakes, or muffins.
- Some people also prefer leaving the berries in a bowl overnight in the fridge to help them thaw out. This is a suitable method if you’re not in a rush and want to make sure you don’t ruin the berries by rushing the thawing process.
How long will blueberries last in the freezer?
Blueberries generally stay good for as long as six months when kept in the freezer.
However, some people even leave them in there for as long as 10 months.
Before you use the blueberries, check for any change in smell or appearance to ensure that they’re okay to put in your dish once you have crossed the six-month mark.
It’s best to label the Ziploc bag or dish that you keep the blueberries in with the date of when you stored them, so you know how many months have passed when you decide to take them out and use them.
Tips from the pros
If you want your frozen blueberries to last longer and taste just as fresh when you take them out of the freezer, you should make sure they’re freshly picked, deep blue, and juicy when you freeze them.
The fresher they are at the time of freezing, the more likely it is that they’ll retain their original great taste later on as well.
Don’t freeze blueberries that appear to be going bad, have lost their shape, or look soft and squishy, as they will not last very long in the freezer and won’t thaw properly when you take them out.
The bottom line
It’s very easy to freeze blueberries and use them for at least the next six months without worrying about them losing their taste or going bad. The best time to freeze them is during the blueberry season when they are at their freshest and best-tasting stage. After you’ve frozen the blueberries, you can conveniently use them for all sorts of recipes such as parfaits, pancakes, smoothies, and much more. As mentioned, you don’t always have to wait for them to thaw before using them, depending on the kind of recipe you’re using them for.
How to freeze blueberries the right way
This is a step-by-step tutorial on how to freeze blueberries in the freezer
- Baking sheets
- Lay all the berries out in one layer on a baking sheet and put them in the freezer for around four to five hours.
- When they’ve frozen (and are solid), transfer the sheet to a freezer-safe dish that has a lid. This allows the berries to stay in the freezer for a longer period.
- After transfering to a freezer-safe dish or freezer bags, put it to your freezer again.
- Avoid rinsing your blueberries before freezing them as it takes away their natural coating, called the bloom. This coating protects them from bacterial growth.
- If you want your frozen blueberries to last longer and retain its fresh taste, make sure they’re freshly picked, deep blue, and juicy.
- Before freezing, making sure you remove any stems and rotten blueberries.