July 14th, 2011

Preserve Summer: How to Freeze Blueberries

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organic blueberries

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.

organic wild blueberriesThere 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.

FREEZING BLUEBERRIES

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Leave them in the freezer overnight-so they are completely frozen.
  4. 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.
  5. They can be stored in the freezer for up to two years.

THAWING YOUR BLUEBERRIES

blueberry pancakesWhen you are ready to use your berries-thaw, wash and use them.

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.

[Photos used under Creative Commons by Kyle McDonald, La Grande Farmers Market, Janineomg/Flickr]

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15 Responses to “Preserve Summer: How to Freeze Blueberries”

  1. I never even thought to do this. But it makes total sense. I am going to head to the store tonight to stock up on some blueberries. My raw diet will be tough without my blueberries! :)

  2. I just did the same Meg! I love blueberries. How’s the raw diet going? I bet you feel wonderful :)

  3. I am going to do this. Mason jars, love it! I just stocked up on strawberrys, next stop – blueberries!

  4. Let me know how it goes Sherry! It’s really so easy. The best part-blueberries year round. Enjoy!

  5. I love blueberries and your article!

  6. Hi Louise-Have you tried freezing blueberries? Thanks so much for stopping by.

  7. This is such a great post. We really like blueberries and this is such a great way to be able to enjoy them all year long!!

  8. Hi Alicia-I’m a blueberry lover too. Having a simple way to preserve them makes me very happy!! Let me know how it goes for you.

  9. Thanks for reminding me it’s blueberry season! For some reason I always think it’s august and miss it every year! Do you do anything special to the mason jars to seal them? Do you buy the freezer ones? I have been looking for a convenient way to use glass in the freezer but was afraid because of all the stories I hear about the glass breaking.

  10. Hi Kristina-I usually hit blueberry season at the tail end too-or miss it all together. I use a wide-mouth mason jar that is specifically designed for freezing. They come in pint and half-pint sizes. The lids aren’t ideal-they are two piece metal lids and seal really well. The issue: they do contain a small amount of BPA. Mason jars do burst occasionally-it’s never happened to me. You also have to be careful when stacking/packing them into the freezer. If your freezer is anything like mine, there’s not a lot of room to spare.

  11. Thanks Lori. Good to know. I will try the freezer mason jars.

  12. Yes, this freezing strategy totally works and I’ve been using it for years. I never thought about using mason jars in the freezer, though. I’ll have to try that when I get around to picking blueberries this summer!

  13. Hi Andrea-mason jars take up more space than a Ziploc, but the glass touching your blueberries is much better than plastic. Let me know how it goes. Happy freezing!

  14. […] Blueberries have always been a favorite superfood since they offer so many nutritional benefits. Add to the list anxiety buster. Blueberries  are rich in antioxidants and vitamin C which may help regulate and prevent spikes in cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone and when elevated cortisol  your anxiety response kicks into gear. […]

  15. […] Preserve Summer: How to Freeze Blueberries | Groovy Green Livin […]

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About Lori

I’m Lori Popkewitz Alper, a recovering attorney, mom of three and the Founder of Groovy Green Livin. I hope you'll join me as I embark on a journey to live a healthy life. Along the way I might make a few pit stops to fight for issues that affect the health and safety of our families. Come along with me as I work hard to make the world a little safer for each of us. Together we'll discover that simple, small changes can lead to a healthier lifestyle and a greener planet.

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