Blueberries are the powerhouse of antioxidants, and it there are hardly people who do not to enjoy this juicy superfood all year long. Available for a very short period of time, from June to August, it is best to freeze the fresh blueberries at the peak of the season.
Though there are 2-3 methods of storing blueberries, dehydrating the berries is the best option for baked dishes, as it takes away its pulpy nature. So a lot of people find freezing blueberries the perfect option to enjoy the delicious pulpy fruit.
Editor’s Recommendation: Learn How to Freeze Strawberries
Instructions to Freeze Whole Blueberries at Home
The best way to store blueberries is very simple. This technique of freezing the blueberries will not clump together, rather turn them into irresistible little marbles of deliciousness.
1. Selecting the Juicy and the Ripe Blueberries
Get some freshly picked blueberries in the peak of the season and discard any moldy, shriveled or mushy blueberries from the lot. Make sure that the blueberries are firm and fresh so that they last long. It is best if you harvest your blueberries early in the morning, as the flavors are the richest at that time.
2. Preparing Blueberries before Freezing
Whether you wash your blueberries or freeze it unwashed is up to you. Blueberries have a natural coating which is waxy and it protects them from pests and bacteria. Washing or blanching them removes this coating. So if you wish yo wash them, make sure to completely dry the berries on paper towels properly. Any residual moisture will lead them to stick together.
The research concludes that washing the blueberries before freezing results in a much tougher skin. However, others prefer to wash them, as it is hygienic and removes any traces of dirt and germs. Moreover, if you wash the berries before freezing, you can enjoy eating them without thawing.
Should fresh blueberries be washed before freezing – When it comes to blueberries, you should never wash or blanch them before freezing.
3. Freeze the berries the right way
Once dry, place the berries in a single layer on rimmed baking sheet or aluminum sheet individually without touching each other. Place them in the freezer for 2-3 hours. Do not leave them for a long time as it will put the berries at risk of getting freezer burns.
Once frozen, transfer the blueberries in a vacuum bag or a ziplock bag or an air-tight glass container. Remove excess air as much as possible. The more you remove the excess air, there are fewer chances of any freezer burns. Label the bags and date them when you are freezing blueberries in ziplock bags!
How long does it take to properly freeze fresh blueberries: 3-4 hours Approximately
How long can you store frozen blueberries: They remain fresh for up 9-12 months. But the freshness and flavor, it is best to consume the berries within six months of freezing them.
How to thaw frozen blueberries?
If you are using the frozen blueberries for your morning smoothie or tossing them in your oatmeal, then simply rinse them and toss them in. However, the best way to thaw them is to keep them in the fridge or just let them come to the room temperature naturally.
Unless you are cooking your blueberries, there is no need to defrost them in the microwave. If you have not washed your blueberries before freezing them, then remember to wash them once before consumption.
How to Freeze Blueberries without Getting Mushy
When spreading the blueberries on the baking sheet, make sure they are not touching each other and have sufficient space between each other. This will help the blueberries to freeze well without getting mushy.
How to Use Home-Frozen Blueberries
You can use the still-frozen blueberries for your baking recipes. There is then no need to thaw them, as it will break them and smash while mixing with the batter. Directly put them into the muffins, cookies and, other baked items and bake as usual. The blueberries end up becoming juicier and plumper in the final finished product when using this technique. The blueberries will become just as warm as the rest of the baked good.
Frozen blueberries retain nutritional value. In fact, research supports that the body absorbs certain nutrients better from the frozen berries than the fresh berries.
Does Freezing Blueberries Destroy it Antioxidants?
People often wonder are freeze-dried blueberries healthy for consumption and do they have the same nutritional and antioxidant levels as when freshly picked. Many studies have been conducted and they suggest that since blueberries are frozen soon after they are picked, “they are equal in quality to fresh,”. It was analyzed in a study the anthocyanin content of blueberries frozen for one, three, and five months and found no decrease in antioxidants over fresh berries.