Learn how to freeze blueberries! When the getting is good with fresh blueberries, eat them fresh! And for the rest of the time, you can freeze blueberries!
We vacationed in Michigan last summer and I was simply drooling at all the blueberries that were in season there.
But I know from experience that blueberry season happens fast. We have about three months in the summertime to gobble those berries up.
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So naturally, I couldn’t help but pick up a flat of blueberries. Okay, it was two. Two flats.
When I reached for the third flat, my husband stopped me. It wasn’t a hand slap or anything like that, it was just the look. I think we all know that look, don’t we?
Like, “Deanne, we have enough. Don’t be greedy…” Fine…he’s right. Anyway…off we went with our blueberry bounty.
I may have hyperventilated for a minute or two, but by then the deed was done. We were outta the state, hauling home our blueberries.
Luckily common sense prevailed and I decided to freeze fresh blueberries to enjoy throughout the year!
Why freeze blueberries
To me, one of the key things to factor in when freezing blueberries is to have individual berries that you can pop into smoothies, pancake mixes and the like.
And while we could just throw rinsed blueberries into a container and freeze them, I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that’s not the best way to freeze blueberries!
That is, unless you want an icy clump of blueberries. That’s not good eating.
But if you see a great deal on blueberries at the farmers market or grocery store, or your neighbor gifts you a basket of blueberries, you can freeze them.
And here’s the best part: because blueberries are frozen at their peak, they’re just healthy and as full of nutrition and vitamins as they are fresh!
How to Prep Blueberries
I like to give my blueberries a simple rinse in a colander.
Next, I pick out any stems that are still hanging on. Also remove any moldy, smashed or wrinkly looking berries. Taking a few minutes now will save us time later on.
Moldy berries go into the trash. The wrinkly or cracked berries can still be used! Try using the overripe blueberries in berry compote or blueberry syrup recipe.
I spread the blueberries on a clean dish towel and let them dry for a bit. I may give them a little roll on the dish towel or pat them dry with a paper towel if I’m in a hurry.
How to Freeze Blueberries
Once the blueberries have dried, spread the blueberries in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. I like to line my sheet with parchment paper or waxed paper, but I’m guessing it’s not a do or die situation.
My thinking is that it keeps the blueberries from sticking to the pan as they freeze. What we’re doing is technically called flash freezing, if you want to be all fancy pants about it.
Spread them in an even layer.
Next up, place the entire sheet pan into the freezer. Keep it in there until the blueberries are frozen solid, about 3 hours. They’ll be like little pebbles that are individually frozen, and that’s exactly what we’re going for.
Remove the frozen blueberries from the sheet pan and place into a labeled, freezer safe bag like a zip top baggie or silicone reusable bag.
I like to measure the blueberries into portions. So I may make a 3/4 cup bag of blueberries to use in my mini blueberry muffins or a two cup portion of blueberries for another recipe.
Oh, and before I forget to remind you, ahem, me….Label that bag of blueberries! Frozen foods play a mean game of “guess that food” in the freezer!
Plus, add the date so you remember when you froze them. If you happen to do batches throughout the summer, you can use the oldest blueberries first.
How Long to Store Frozen Blueberries
Ideally, use frozen berries in the first few months after freezing. You can keep frozen blueberries on hand for up to six months, though I’ve been known to save them until the next blueberry season arrives.
The big tips list:
- Make sure your blueberries are dry before freezing.
- Freeze completely before bagging your blueberries.
- Remove excess air if you use a quart or gallon sized freezer bag to avoid freezer burn.
- Use a container that fits the amount of blueberries you’re freezing (so don’t use a huge container for just a handful of blueberries I like freezing blueberries in ziplock bags or these silicone bags
How to Use Frozen Blueberries
You can use frozen blueberries just like you’d use fresh blueberries. 99% of the time, there’s no need to thaw frozen blueberries.
In fact, in most of my recipes, I call for fresh or frozen blueberries.
If you thaw them, in many cases the juice will turn the batter an interesting shade of blue grey. While it may taste okay, it’s not visually appealing, that’s for sure!
Can I freeze my blueberries without rinsing them?
Yes, you can. That little coating that you see on the blueberries? It’s called bloom. It’s a waxy type, naturally occurring coating that blueberries have.
So you could skip the rinsing step and go right into the freezer. If you do that, you have to rinse the blueberries before using.
Now, I know myself well because I’ve been living with myself for a loooooong time.
I will forget.
Or I won’t make a recipe using those blueberries because rinsing the berries sounds impossibly difficult and super energy expending.
You know those kinds of days…
The kind of day the kids have been fighting, the dog threw up on the carpet, and the thought of opening the cabinet, getting a strainer, patting the berries dry….it’s just too exhausting to even think about.
So for that reason, I like to rinse and dry them before freezing.
There you go.
Best containers for freezing blueberries
You can freeze blueberries in mason jars, quart or gallon sized freezer bags, or any freezer safe food container.
I personally love these reusable silicone bags! They’re clear so I can see what’s inside and they’re dishwasher safe to reuse.
How long do frozen blueberries last
Frozen blueberries will last several months in the freezer. Be sure to remove as much air as possible before freezing to combat freezer burn!
Recipes using frozen blueberries
- 3 pints fresh blueberries
- Rinse blueberries in a strainer. Pick out any stems and remove any moldy, smashed or wrinkly looking berries.
- Spread the blueberries on a clean dish towel and let them dry for a bit. If you're feeling impatient, you can give them a little roll on the dish towel or pat them dry with a paper towel.
- Once the blueberries are dry, spread them in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. I like to line my sheet with parchment paper or waxed paper. It keeps them from sticking as they freeze.
- Spread them in an even layer. Place the entire sheet pan into the freezer. Keep it in there until the blueberries are frozen solid, about 3 hours. They’ll be like little pebbles that are individually frozen, and that’s exactly what we’re going for.
- Remove the frozen blueberries from the sheet pan and place into a labeled, freezer safe bag like a zip top baggie or silicone reusable bag.
Moldy berries go into the trash. The wrinkly or cracked berries can still be used! Try using the overripe blueberries in berry compote!
You can freeze as many or as few blueberries as you'd like. The recipe powers that be made me assign a specific amount 🙂
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 42Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 2gSugar: 7gProtein: 1g