Blueberry season is in full swing here in New England and pints of blueberries can be found at most markets and farm stands. Blueberries are ripe and ready to pick only during the month of July in most places, so now is the time to stock up on your favorite organic blueberries.
There are plenty of places to find blueberries. We recently stumbled upon a blueberry patch in Maine where the berries are wild and free. There are many other options for stockpiling these plump, sweet berries. Joining a CSA and visiting your local farmer’s market are both great alternatives for buying local berries. Other fun options include visiting a pick-your-own farm stand or finding a random blueberry patch growing naturally in a field.
Blueberries happen to be listed on the Environmental Working Groups “Dirty Dozen” –one of 12 fruits and/or vegetables that contain the highest amounts of pesticide residue. Try to buy or pick only organic blueberries to avoid high levels of pesticides.
Stock up on organic blueberries when they are on sale and in season, then follow these simple steps in order to enjoy them year round.
- Place your blueberries in a colander and remove any stems, leaves and other items you wouldn’t want to eat (sticks, bugs). Rinse them gently in cold water.
- Arrange the berries in a single layer on a baking sheet that will fit flat in your freezer. Spread them out so they don’t freeze together. If you have a lot of berries you can stack the trays.
- Leave them in the freezer overnight-so they are completely frozen.
- Once the berries are frozen solid, use glass containers to store them. Many people use plastic freezer bags or plastic containers, but you know how I feel about plastic. I would suggest glass mason jars for storing your berries.
- They can be stored in the freezer for up to two years.
THAWING YOUR BLUEBERRIES
To thaw frozen blueberries place the glass jar in the refrigerator overnight. Please don’t microwave them! Also, don’t place your frozen jar of berries in piping hot water-it will shatter.
THE POWER OF BLUE-HEALTH BENEFITS OF BLUEBERRIES
With just 80 calories per cup and virtually no fat, blueberries offer many noteworthy nutritional benefits.
- Blueberries are packed with antioxidants
- They are overflowing with Vitamin C
- Blueberries are filled with fiber
- Excellent source of Manganese
Now you can enjoy your organic blueberries year round.
Are you freezing fruit this year? Do you have any tips or suggestions for freezing?
For more information on how to preserve all sorts of fruits and vegetables check out PickYourOwn.org
This post is part of this months Green Moms Carnival on food preservation. The carnival is hosted this month by Abbie from Farmer’s Daughter and goes live Monday, July 18th. Be sure to stop by for lots of great tips, suggestions and thoughts on preserving our summer bounty.