How to Freeze Fresh Blueberries
How to Freeze Blueberries
Freezing your blueberries is the perfect solution for those extra few pints you picked up from the farmers market. This easy little trick takes seconds to do and lets you enjoy summer blueberries—and their many health benefits—all year long.
So what’s the best way to freeze fresh blueberries? Find out in this step-by-step guide.
Start With Fresh, Ripe Blueberries
The fresher your blueberries are before you freeze them, the tastier they will be when you use them later. What’s the easiest way to know the quality of your blueberries? First, check their appearance, then pop a few into your mouth. Ripe blueberries have a dark blue color, juicy mouthfeel, and tangy-sweet flavor.
If your blueberries are wrinkly or mushy-feeling, then they’re probably not the best candidates for freezing. But don’t throw them away—overripe blueberries are delicious cooked down into a sauce and drizzled over homemade pancakes or Greek yogurt.
Don’t Wash the Blueberries
Don’t wash the blueberries before freezing them. Yes, it sounds counterintuitive, but there’s a good reason for this. Blueberries have a natural waxy coating on their skins called the bloom. The bloom protects the blueberries from pests or bacteria, and it also helps them stay nice and juicy. While rinsing the blueberries removes the bloom, it can also cause them to spoil faster. For that reason, it’s best to wait and rinse your blueberries until just before using them.
Next, make sure your freezer is set to 0°F or colder. Freezing blueberries—or any food—at the proper temperature helps retain color, flavor, texture, and even nutrients.
Arrange Blueberries in a Single Layer
Step One: Spread the blueberries out in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. A 6 1/2” x 9” baking sheet (also called an 1/8 pan) will comfortably accommodate a pint of blueberries.
You can technically freeze the blueberries directly in the pint container, but using a baking sheet is by far the best way. It helps the blueberries freeze faster—and it’s a good rule of thumb for any food that you’re freezing. In general, the quicker food freezes, the better its quality once thawed. While you’re doing this, also check for and dispose of any stray blueberry stems.
Freeze Berries Until Solid
Step Two: Place the baking sheet in the freezer so it lies flat. Freeze the berries until completely hardened, at least 3 hours.
Bag Frozen Blueberries
Step Three: Transfer the frozen berries from the baking sheet to a zip-top plastic freezer bag. Make sure to label and date the plastic bag, so you can keep track of when you froze the blueberries.
Use Frozen or Thaw as Needed
For optimal quality, use frozen blueberries within about 6 months of freezing. Use them straight from the freezer as-is, or thaw them by rinsing in room temperature water. Once thawed, pat the blueberries dry with paper towels and use as desired.
What to Do With Frozen (or Thawed) Blueberries
So what can you do with your perfectly preserved blueberries? If frozen, you can blend them into smoothies, cook them down with a little sugar for popsicles (try these stunning Blueberry-Lavender Yogurt Pops), or pile them over hot oatmeal. If thawed, they’re delicious mixed into salads or baked goods like muffins and pies.