Blueberries are one of the tastiest summer fruits. They’re good when they stand alone, and they also make a great add-on, whether it be to a salad or your morning bowl of cereal. Because these little berries are so tasty, many people like to enjoy them year-round. That’s where freezing comes in. You can usually find a package of frozen blueberries at the grocery store, but it’s always more rewarding to use fresh berries that you picked yourself. Learning how to freeze blueberries is a fairly simple process—we’ve outlined the basics below.
Why Freeze Blueberries?
There’s a pretty obvious answer as to why you should freeze blueberries: so they can last longer. Though thanks to modern farming practices blueberries are now available for a longer period of the year, their growth is still restricted by the seasons. So, if you want to be able to enjoy blueberries all year round, frozen is the way to go.
There are other reasons to freeze blueberries, however. While you can thaw out your frozen blueberries and enjoy them almost as if they were fresh, blueberries can be eaten and enjoyed just as much while still in their frozen state.
If you’re into smoothies, for instance, frozen berries are a great resource to put into the blender to get that nice chill, instead of resorting to ice, which might weaken the flavor, or ice cream, which can add countless calories. Frozen blueberries are also a great addition to your morning bowl of cereal, adding a little more texture than non-frozen blueberries.
Ready to start enjoying all the awesome benefits of frozen blueberries yourself? Keep reading to learn how to freeze blueberries below!
How to Freeze Blueberries
The first step, naturally, is to clean your blueberries. You want to be sure to wash away any potential pesticide residue and just get them clean in general. This task is pretty easy—simply run a bit of water over your blueberries, making sure to shake them around gently in the process so that the water touches every side.
We recommend rinsing them while in a colander so that the water naturally pours through the blueberries and you don’t have to worry about draining a large amount of fluid from a bowl while also minding the blueberries.
The next step is to drain the water and let the blueberries dry. You don’t want any excess water clinging to the outside of the berries when you put them into the freezer—this could result in large chunks of ice surrounding your blueberries that make them more difficult to handle when frozen and will also lead to an excess of water when they thaw out.
If you used a strainer when rinsing the blueberries in the first place, then you’re already part way through the process of removing the water. You still need to be sure to remove any excess water, however. To do this, set out a spare towel, paper towel, or other absorbent material, and place the blueberries on a single layer across it so that they can be allowed to dry. Let them dry for however long is necessary.
You can help speed this process by gently taking a towel and patting the berries, absorbing the moisture from along their tops and sides. Be careful, though, as blueberries are very fragile and you don’t want to accidentally smoosh one. These tiny berries can make a very big mess.
Once your blueberries are completely dried off, it is time to complete the final step before freezing: arranging.
We recommend getting out a baking sheet or another firm surface on which to place your berries. Something with a lip is preferable, so that way you don’t have to worry about your blueberries rolling off the edge in transit. Once you have your baking sheet or other chosen surface, line it with wax paper, parchment paper, or another similar non-stick surface.
Now it is time to arrange your blueberries. Arrange them evenly in one layer across the tray. It may be tempting to double up on layers if you’re freezing a lot of blueberries, but we advise that you resist. You don’t want the blueberries to be frozen together in large chunks before you transfer them to their final storing place.
And now, of course, the most important step of all: freezing.
Freezing blueberries actually takes a much shorter amount of time than you might think—if you have a freezer that runs very cold and you aren’t storing any other foods that might be affected by this cold temperature.
Blueberries freeze when they reach the point of -20˚ Fahrenheit, so naturally the colder the freezer is the quicker these berries will freeze. In a supremely cold freezer, blueberries can take as little as four minutes to freeze. For most purposes, however, the blueberries will take far longer and you’ll want to give them ample time to ensure that all of them are completely frozen.
Recommendations on how long to freeze them vary widely. Some say two hours, some say four. Others also suggest leaving them in the freezer overnight. This might be the simplest course of action so that you’re not waiting around on your blueberries all day and trying to guess when they might be ready. So, just pop them in the freezer before bedtime and wake up to a plethora of frozen blueberries.
Though your blueberries are now frozen, there is still one final step: transfer.
It would obviously be inconvenient to just keep a cookie sheet of blueberries in your freezer at all times. Plus, prolonged, uncovered exposure in a freezer could lead to freezer burn. And nobody wants freezer-burned blueberries. Nobody.
So, before you even start this process in the first place, we recommend you have something on hand to store your blueberries in once they’re frozen. A heavy-duty freezer bag will do the trick.
Once your blueberries have been given an appropriate amount of time to freeze, simply remove the tray from the freezer. Take the bag or other appropriate container and begin transferring your blueberries into it. After this is done, zip it up and you’re ready to store your blueberries and have them on hand throughout the year!
Additional tip: be sure to label your bag, both with its contents and the date so that you can always be sure of how long you’ve had something in your freezer.
Optional: Thaw Out
As we mentioned above, there are plenty of ways that you can enjoy your frozen blueberries as-is in their frozen state. There are plenty of other circumstances, however, in which you may want unfrozen blueberries.
Luckily, your blueberries will be just as good thawed as they are frozen.
To thaw your blueberries, let the process happen naturally. Don’t try to rush things by putting them in the microwave—this will lead to mushy and watery blueberries that no one will enjoy.
Rather, leave them out in a bowl to thaw at their own place. This process will probably take a few hours. Make sure there is room in the bowl for excess fluid, as this will be a result of the thawing process. Once the blueberries are completely thawed, drain the fluid and you’re ready to go!
How Long Do Frozen Blueberries Last?
We mentioned earlier that you should date your frozen blueberries. This is for a very particular reason: While freezing blueberries will make them last for a very long time, it won’t make them last forever.
Typically, you can be sure that your frozen blueberries are still good to eat within 10-12 months of freezing.
It should also be noted that you can’t “re-freeze” blueberries. They can only be frozen once, from their fresh state. Any blueberries that have been previously thawed out should not be re-frozen at any time.
Making Your Next Tasty Blueberry Treat
Blueberries are incredibly versatile, and their size makes them exceedingly convenient. In order to add them to a dish, no preparation is required. Simply rinse them off and pop them in.
If you’re looking for ideas on what to do with your blueberries -- fresh, frozen, or thawed -- be sure to check out this article about tasty blueberry treats.
Now that you know how to freeze blueberries on your own, the possibilities are endless. Make your favorite smoothies and add a pop of sweet flavor to any of your favorite meals with this versatile little berry.
Perhaps the best part of all is that blueberries are extremely healthful. Not only do they fulfill the fruit requirement of your diet, but they’re also chock-full of helpful nutrients like antioxidants. So, while you’re enjoying your sweet-tasting blueberries you’ll also be reaping all their health benefits.