How to Freeze Blueberries?
How to Freeze Blueberries
Blueberries are some of the yummiest treats of the summer, but unless you know how to freeze blueberries, the season is too short. Fortunately, blueberries are one of the easiest of all fruits to freeze. Most berries can be frozen this same way.All you will need is a jelly roll pan (a cookie sheet with a rim) or other flat pan, freezer bags or other containers, and ideally, a vacuum sealer, and possibly a clean dry towel that may get stained to keep the berries from sticking to the pan.
Find the Best Deal on Blueberries
For the best price on blueberries, look in your area for a farm. Most farms grow several varieties which ripen at different times to extend the blueberry season. Call the farm to find out when to harvest and if they offer the option to pick your own. If so, most will allow you to bring your own containers to save even more money, but remember to weigh your containers before filling them. Wear comfortable clothing and pick berries in the early morning for the freshest flavor. Berries that fall off the stems easily are ripe. Most farms also sell berries already picked, too.
Other economical ways to stock up on blueberries in season are at your local farmers market, or when they are on sale at the grocery store. Look for berries that are not shriveled and are of a uniform color. Most types of blueberries have a natural bloom, or waxy looking coating.
When to Wash Berries
Opinions vary on whether or not to wash blueberries before freezing them before or after you freeze them. If you wash them before freezing, let them dry thoroughly on paper towels before the next steps, or they will freeze into a clump. If the berries were grown organically, you may even skip washing them.
Sort and Freeze
Pick out any shriveled or unripe berries, stems, and other debris. Spread the blueberries out into a thin layer on your pan covered with the towel so they will not stick to the pan, and place in the freezer for an hour and a half to overnight. When the berries are frozen, quickly transfer them to a freezer bag. For best results, use a vacuum sealer to remove as much air as possible. Otherwise, you can use a straw to draw out as much air as possible. Excess air trapped in the bag will hasten the demise of your fruit.
You can keep berries in the freezer for up to one year at 0°F in a regular defrosting freezer, longer in a deep freezer that does not defrost.
How to Use Frozen Blueberries
Freezing berries changes the texture, so they will not be suitable for recipes that call for fresh berries. To use your frozen blueberries in muffins or other baked product, you do not need to defrost them. If you use them in pancakes or to layer in cold desserts, you can set them in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight to thaw out, or microwave on defrost for 2 minutes. For smoothies, use them frozen.