Freezing is a fail-safe way of storing fresh fruits and vegetables, especially for delicate fruits like blueberry. Though maybe you can’t have enough of it, it is not uncommon to end up with more blueberries than you might be willing to use right away. Drying them works for keeping them for later, but that takes away its pulpy nature. That is why plenty of people find freezing to be a preferable option to make them last longer in their original state.
There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way of freezing these berries, but the method you follow directly effects their shelf life and how well the texture and flavor are preserved. Here are the steps for an easy flash-freezing method for blueberries:
Sort the berries to make sure they are all fresh and firm. Remove any berries that have started going soft, along with any leaves and stems. Select only the best ones for keeping.
Most of the times, it is recommended to first wash the fruits or veggies well to prepare them for storing. Yet, when it comes to blueberries, you should never wash or blanch them before freezing. They have a waxy coating that keeps the surface nonstick and protects the berries from fungus and bacteria. Rinsing them would remove this coating, leaving you to dry the berries for a long time to keep them from sticking to each other during freezing.
Just see to it that they are clean enough with no dust or dirt, whether freshly picked or store-bought.
Place them in a single layer over a wide flat surface, such as a rimmed cookie sheet or an aluminum tray, so all the berries can freeze evenly.
Once frozen, transfer them to zip-lock freezer bags or an airtight glass container (to avoid using plastic) and store in the freezer; don’t forget to label them with the date.
How long does it take to properly freeze fresh blueberries: Around 3-4 hours
How long can you store them: It is best to use them within 6 months if you want to use them as fresh as possible. Though they will remain good for around a year.
Note: While spreading the berries on the sheet, you can make sure they are not touching each other so they are frozen individually. This will also help the blueberries to freeze well without getting mushy.
All you need to do is dump the berries in a cup of water at room temperature when you want to use them. One cup of blueberries takes around 5-10 minutes to thaw to their original consistency and texture.
Do not forget to wash them before eating or adding to your recipes, since you froze them unwashed.
A study conducted by the South Dakota State University shows that freezing blueberries makes it possible for the body to better absorb certain antioxidants from them. It means frozen blueberries have a higher nutritional value for the human body compared to fresh blueberries.
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