Excess fresh blueberries shouldn’t be a problem right? They are healthy, yummy and can be used in different types of recipes. But not everyone wants to eat blueberries at every meal. Maybe you’ve had enough blueberry dessert, smoothies, and pancakes. You are even kind of tempted to throw the rest of the blueberry muffins out to the chickens? Let me help you out by walking thru the best method for freezing blueberries.
I personally don’t grow my own blueberries, although we have tried. I would like to buy blueberry plants again sometime. But until then, what I am doing right now is to purchase them in 10-lb boxes by placing an order at a local bulk food store each summer. They will call me when the order is ready to pick up. I bought 2 boxes this year and last year. Other people may prefer to visit pick-your-own blueberry patches.
Regardless, it can be a bunch of blueberries to use at one time before it goes bad. And then what happens the following winter when you need some blueberries? It’s easy to freeze the extra blueberries. But it’s best to do it in a 3-step process, using a method called flash-freezing.
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Wash and Dry
First of course, it’s best to wash the blueberries. I simply used water and rinsed mine in a strainer basket this year. I had read somewhere about using a salad-spinner to drain the excess water off berries. It works ok with blueberries. But if you don’t have a salad spinner, you could also place them on paper towels, or let them drain thru a colander. I used a Pampered Chef spinner my husband found at a yard sale a while ago. So I dumped the berries into the inner basket, and ran water over them at the sink. Then I pumped the spinner handle to remove water. The less water left on them the better. I also remove stems, and yucky berries.
The second step is spread the blueberries flat on a cookie sheet. Try not to have any berries on top of the others. Then slide the cookie tray onto a shelf in your freezer. You should leave the berries in the freezer until solid. I didn’t actually time this, but I would estimate you need at least a half hour for this. And by the way, this is what is known as flash-freezing.
Portion And Re-Freeze
Once the blueberries are solid, you can proceed to the third step of this process. Remove the tray(s) from the freezer, and grab some *freezer bags or other *freezer container. Sometimes I have portioned the berries into 2 cup or 4 cup amounts. Or you can just fill the container until full. Label the contents with the name, date, and amount if desired. Lastly, place the filled containers back into your freezer.
In case you are wondering why this is the best method for freezing blueberries, let me explain. And by the way, I did not invent this concept. Flash-freezing is beneficial when preserving berries because it helps keep the berries from freezing together in a big hunk. You don’t want to have to pull them apart from each other to use them later. It might tear the skins off the berries, and make them more likely to ooze juice when you want to mix them into a recipe batter. Give this a method a try and see if you might enjoy some blueberry pancakes with maple syrup this winter. Or maybe some blueberry muffins you won’t want to toss to the chickens!
Got more extra blueberries? You might also enjoy reading Delicious Blueberry Fruit Leather In A Dehydrator.