Monday, June 4, 2012

How to Freeze Blueberries

Summer is blueberry season. Considered a "super fruit" because they are high in antioxidants, blueberries are a great snack for the kiddos (and us!). Blueberries are also very easy to freeze and now is the time to do so since you can take advantage of the seasonal prices. Frozen blueberries make great snacks and can be used in smoothies, muffins, pies, or cobblers thoroughout the year.


This is how you freeze blueberries. So simple your kids can do it. This was one of Brooke's chores for the afternoon.

1. Put the blueberries in colander and rinse then with water.


2. Drain and dry the blueberries. Put the blueberries on a paper towel to dry.  Here is Brooke making sure all the blueberries are in a single layer so they dry faster:


Here is Brooke gently patting a paper towel on top of the blueberries to make sure the are dry:


3. Now do NOT just throw the blueberries into a Ziploc bag or container and toss them in the freezer because you will end up with one big, hard lump of frozen blueberries. You need to flash freeze them. To flash freeze, you need to lay the blueberries out on a cookie sheet in a single layer. I put a new, dry paper towel on the cookie sheet so the blueberries do not get frozen to the cookie sheet. Make sure the cookie sheet with fit in your freezer.


4. Put the cookie sheets of blueberries in the freezer. Make sure you get the cookie sheets as flat as possible so that the berries do not touch each other and freezer together. No need to cover. You are just leaving them in the freezer until they are hard.  This is called flash freezing. You do this with muffins, pancakes, waffles, chopped onions and green peppers too so that you do not end up with a huge lump. Flash freezing ensures that each item is frozen individually. It takes about 1-2 hours for the blueberries to freeze.


You can stack the trays if necessary. Just make sure there is a gap between your cookies sheets so the cold air can circulate. 

5. Once the blueberries are individually frozen (1-2 hours), take the cookie sheet out of the freezer.


And now toss the blueberries in a freezer bag or a plastic freezer container.


Get every yummy berry in there:
.

6. Blueberries will keep in the freezer for upto a year. Here they are on top of my homeamde frozen lasagna:


To thaw the blueberries, you just leave them out on the counter for about 30 minutes to an hour. We do not like to eat them like that though becaue they tend to be mushy. So we eat them frozen or we use them in smoothies, pancakes, and muffins.


And speaking of blueberries, did you see the frozen yogurt blueberries on Pinterest? I want to try this next. You simply poke a blueberry with a wooden skewer and dip and swirl it in yogurt, and then put it on a cookie sheet to flash freeze. Jillee over at One Good Thing has all the directions here.


Happy Blueberry Season!! What is your favorite way to eat/use blueberries? You have something new to share with me?!

5 comments:

  1. In July last year Whole Foods had a one day sale on Blueberries - they were organic from California and if you bought a case (12 pints) the price came to $1.67 per pint...I bought a case plus a few pints and froze them. We ate them all up about a month ago - they were delic...can't wait to get some again!

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  2. A friend and I go in together each year and buy a couple of flats from a gentleman at the Farmers Market who sells organic blueberries. He gives us a break because we buy so many. =) I used to do mine just like you outline in your post. Last year I mentioned to him about them being a little "mushy" when they thaw. He told me to NOT rinse them before putting them in the freezer. To just put them in the ziplock bags from his containers and freeze. Then rinse them after thawing them when I am ready to use them. I did that with last years blueberries and it worked! They were delicious and were not mushy at all. Just placed our order yesterday for this years purchase.

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    Replies
    1. Do you just dump the bluberries in a ziploc bag. . no flash freezing them. Do they freeze in a big clump? I am so gonna try this. Would love to get rid of the mush factor.

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  3. No flash freezing. And no, they don't clump at all. The man at the farmer's market sells them in the plastic packages similar to the grocery store ones. I just open them and into the bag they go. Then straight into the freezer. I do put mine in smaller ziplock bag and then put several small bags in to a gallon bag--essentially double bagging them. Don't know if that makes a difference or not. But I use them them just like fresh ones. I JUST used the final bag from last year's "crop" and they were yummy and tasted like I had just bought them. I am definitely going to do the yogurt drops out of some. I know my boys would LOVE them.

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  4. Next batch I am trying your way! Must be the moisture that makes them stick (the prewashing) into one big clump. I do not know. I will be sure to let you know how we like them your way :) Thanks for replying back.

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