Can you freeze blueberries for later? Packed with nutrition, sweet-tart blueberries are the taste of summer. But is there a way to enjoy them in winter? Namely, can blueberries be frozen? If that’s the question that bugs you, read on!
Blueberries can be successfully frozen for long-term storage, lending a fresh summer flavor to your cooking all year.
They can be grown easily in your backyard, and are a favorite at pick-your-own farms. Blueberries have a short peak season and only last about a week after they are purchased if kept at refrigerated temperatures. If you have a large harvest or find a great sale, you may want to store some to enjoy later.
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Blueberries freeze well, but their thawed texture may be mushier than you enjoy for eating as-is. You can use frozen blueberries in a variety of cooking applications, including muffins, pies, jams, pancakes, and fruit compotes. The texture of frozen and thawed blueberries after cooking will be very similar to cooked fresh blueberries.
You can also enjoy frozen blueberries still frozen as an icy snack. If you want to freeze blueberries to thaw and use without further preparation, you will have the best results if you flash-freeze the blueberries as quickly as possible.
You should always choose fresh and flavorful berries for freezing, as this will maximize your enjoyment of them later. Berries that are mushy or a little unripe will degrade the most when frozen.
How to Freeze Blueberries?
You can freeze fresh or blueberries that are a part of an already-cooked dish. Blueberry muffins, pancakes, pies, and more can be successfully frozen with no real loss of quality. Below is the guide on how can you freeze blueberries:
Prepping the Blueberries
Washing blueberries prior to freezing can make the skins tougher. However, this rarely presents a problem if you plan on cooking with them. If you plan on snacking on the frozen berries, you should make sure to rinse them before freezing.
If you choose not to wash them first, it is a good idea to label your storage container with this information, to make sure you wash them before using. If you are washing your berries, make sure to allow them to drain and dry thoroughly for best results.
Flash-Freezing the Blueberries
Blueberries will freeze best if laid in a single layer on a cookie sheet. This allows the berries to freeze faster, preserving as much texture as possible. It also allows you to remove only the amount of berries you need for your recipe, because the berries will not freeze into one large mass.
Freezing Blueberries for Long-Term
Once fully frozen, you should transfer the berries to an airtight container or freezer bag for long-term storage. Blueberries can be frozen for 6-12 months if protected from freezer burn with a good airtight container.
How to Defrost Frozen Blueberries?
Blueberries should be thawed slowly in the refrigerator overnight, left at room temperature, or thawed in a water-tight bag in a bowl of cold water.
For best results, use berries when they are still cold. Over-thawed or warm berries can be mushy. You can use the microwave to thaw berries, but this should only be done if you plan on cooking with them. Make sure to wash your berries once they are thawed if you didn’t wash them before freezing.
If you are cooking with your frozen blueberries, you do not need to thaw them first. Because they are so small, using blueberries still frozen will not significantly alter your cooking time. This eliminates some of the liquid loss that happens when berries are thawed, and results in plumper berries in your cooked dish. Simply add frozen berries to your recipe as you would fresh, and cook as normal.
Freezing blueberries can bring the fresh taste of summer to your table year-round, while saving you money. Now that you know how can you freeze blueberries, you can maximize the fresh berries, reduce waste, and enjoy healthy snacks for later!