How to: Freeze Blueberries
Confession time: I am still an amateur when it comes to preserving the bountiful harvests of the summer months. But I do kind of have an excuse... every summer for the last 5 years I have either been quite pregnant or had a baby. To the women out there who plant, harvest and preserve a wonderful array of fruits and vegetables every summer despite having a baby attached to them: YOU ARE AMAZING. Give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back (or a glass of wine.)
But regardless of whatever well laid plans I have had each summer, the one thing I have always managed to accomplish is freezing blueberries!
This year, I have frozen 40 pounds of beautiful, juicy, local blueberries. *sigh of content*
Previous years I have only done 10-20lbs of blueberries and it did not last us a full year, so now hopefully those 40lbs actually last us!
Besides the fact that blueberries are versatile and can be added to smoothies and baked goods, I have always chosen to stock up because they are easy to freeze!
Did I mention my problem with baby-on-board or baby-in-tow every summer? Ya, I did. So that meant if it was not super simple to do, I wasn't going to do it.
If you've never frozen blueberries before, read how easy it is and then get your butt out there and buy some blueberries!
How to: Freeze Blueberries
Freezing blueberries with a vacuum sealer
1. Wash blueberries
Depending on the amount you purchase, this can be done all at once or in batches. Most often, you can gently dump the blueberries into your kitchen sink filled with cool water. But, if you have a lot of blueberries (like my 40lbs), you can either do it in your kitchen sink in batches OR use a larger (clean) Rubbermaid tote or laundry sink.
It's best to buy organic and/ore no-spray blueberries; if that's the case, I find just letting them sit in pure water while I get my supplies set up is good. If you're worried about contaminates, you can add apple cider vinegar to the water.
2. Dry and sort blueberries
Before you freeze your blueberries, you'll want to make sure that your blueberries are dry. Any extra moisture will cause freezer burn.
To dry your blueberries, lay them on towels. You can also place fans in the room to speed up this process.
While the blueberries are drying, sort through them and remove any blueberries that are overripe and mushy and remove any stems that may still be attached to the berries.
3. Pre-freeze blueberries
Because you don't want to squeeze your blueberries to mush in the vacuum sealer bags, it's best to pre-freeze them!
You can do this by laying dry blueberries on parchment-lined baking sheets and placing them in the freezer for a couple hours.
4. Vacuum seal blueberries
You can bag and freeze the blueberries in any amounts you'd like, but I recommend 2-4 cups. You should then label your bags with the amount and date that you froze them, just in case they end up in your freezer for a long time
Place the bags in the freezer as soon as possible so the blueberries don't thaw.
Freezing blueberries using Ziploc freezer bags
Follow steps 1 and 2 above, then...
3. Place unfrozen blueberries into Ziploc freezer bags
As long as you can do it relatively gently (I say relatively because I usually don't try to be gentle haha), you can measure your blueberries into Ziploc bags without pre-freezing.
Again, choose the amount you want in each bag.
When you close the bags, make sure to gently squeeze out as much air as possible. My weird trick is to close the bag most of the way, but leave one small opening. Then, I stick my mouth over the opening and suck out any remaining air as I quickly press it closed. (Sorry, if this weirds you out, don't eat blueberry muffins when you come over for a visit.)
4. Label and place bags in the freezer
I like to place my bags of blueberries back into the boxes they came in to keep my freezer more organized.
With just a few hours of your time, you can have beautiful blueberries all year long!
Another HUGE benefit to freezing blueberries is that you can buy them when they're in season which saves a ton of money. I chose to buy my blueberries already picked and spent $90 on 40lbs. If I had picked them myself, I could've gotten 40lbs for $60. Either way, I saved a lot of money. If I bought non-organic, store brand, frozen blueberries from the local grocery store, I would have spent at least $200 on the same amount!