Blueberries

How-to Freeze Berries

IMG_2916We are a blueberry family. By that, I mean we can easily consume several pints of blueberries in a week. As such, blueberries are something I love to grow in my garden. This
year I have 6 blueberry plants – three varieties: Jubilee, Jewel, and Legacy. Between the 6 plants, I produce around 30 pints during the growing season. As much as we love our blueberries, there is only so much we can eat before the produce goes bad. And no one wants to see blueberries go bad. High in antioxidants, blueberries are not only delicious but considered a super fruit. In order to reap the benefits of these tasty berries all year, freezing is an easy way to preserve them.

While there may technically be no wrong way to freeze, I discovered very quickly that throwing berries into a container and tossing it into the freezer is not the best method. This causes the berries to stick together in one big, hard, lump. In this post, I will show you a simple way to freeze your berries and keep them from sticking. This method is also great for freezing other berries and small fruits.

Step 1. Pick your berries.

First step is pretty easy. Pick your fruit. Whether it be from your garden, a local farmers market, or grocery store – fresh is best. Peak blueberry season means 90 degree weather out where I live, so I find picking my berries in the early morning provides peak flavor. This is a great activity for kids as well. My 3 year old loves helping pick berries.

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Step 2. Wash and dry your berries.

Rinse your berries in a colander and remove any stems or stray leaves. Then gently pat dry your berries.

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Step 3. Arrange your berries on a lined baking sheet and place in freezer.

Arrange berries in a single layer on a baking sheet that will fit flat in your freezer. Place lining, such as parchment paper, on the bottom of the tray so the berries do not stick to it.

Place your baking sheet flat in the freezer to prevent the berries from rolling into one another. Ideally, the berries should not touch one another. If you have many berries, feel free to stack two or more trays, so long as there is space for cold air to move through.

Wait until all berries are frozen through, about 4 hours, before moving on to the next step.

Blueberries

Step 4. Fill containers with berries.

Once the berries are frozen solid, choose containers to keep them in. Many people prefer freezer bags or plastic containers, but I like glass mason jars. If you use plastic, you can use a straw to suck out excess air before completely sealing to help prevent freezer burn.

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Step 5. Eat the berries!

If you use a glass container, do not attempt to thaw contents by placing the container in hot or boiling water. Blueberries are small and thaw quickly, so for most recipes, there is no need to thaw them before use. Any berries that are stuck together should be very easy to nudge apart. I usually shake the jar gently before opening.

 

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