Blueberries are ripe and ready to freeze! Let’s get those blue baubles of delicious goodness put by for the winter. Freezing blueberries for winter use is so EASY! Properly frozen whole blueberries retain every bit of their nutritional goodness and taste like candy. Well worth the work.
My day began, as often happens, with a plan. That plan has gone sadly awry. The phone beeped, and later it rang. Both times something changed in my little world. One event I had forgotten, and the second, as I arrived home from completely the first task; was an opportunity not to be missed. Throw out the day’s schedule of things to do. It’s time to go U-pick blueberries!
Dave found a farm that has 100-year-old blueberry bushes, does NOT spray them; and it’s nearby! He called me while he was already at the farm, so I went to help pick.
We picked seventeen pounds of blueberries at a great price; brought them home, and then I prepped them and put them in the freezer. That’s a good days work and it only took a few hours. We now have all the blueberries in the freezer we need for the winter. Excellent!
We adore blueberries as a frozen treat in the winter months. They are also extremely good for you! Blueberries have a very high antioxidant content. This makes them a natural fighter of disease. They also have components that may help improve memory and have a low glycemic value. The best news is; all of these health benefits survive the freezing process! For more on the health benefits of these amazing berries go here.
Have kids? Get them out to the blueberry fields and make some great memories. My daughters. granddaughters and I went out one year and had so much fun! My oldest granddaughter adores picking blueberries. Yes, it’s a bit more work taking the kids. But so worth it! We found a farm that has a snack bar and wagon rides. Fun day!
We make Blueberry Banana Smoothies, Healthy blueberry waffles, Blueberry sauce, Blueberry swirl cheesecake, and Blueberry muffins . So many delicious ways to get a bite of summer in the cold winter months. Or just eat them straight out of the bag all frozen. That’s a good healthy treat. Kids love blueberries frozen.
We have tried to grow these wonderfully nutritious fruits for decades. Dave bought 12 or so baby bushes several years ago. They are just starting to get big enough to make a few treats. Not enough fruit for winter preservation though.
Over the years, Our animals have continually thwarted us in our efforts to grow blueberries(and orchard fruits) old enough to produce enough produce to freeze. Lately, it’s our sole remaining sheep and our hens. They love those yummy blue baubles hanging right at their eye level. The sheep, unfortunately likes the leaves and branches too; trimming them back rather severely.
Dave finally put the blueberries out of harms way for the most part. Our garden is fenced off too. Our animals are rather free range and naughty 🙂
Blueberries, in fact most berries, are very easy to freeze
Freeze Blueberries dry
Blueberries may be the easiest berry to work with. Don’t even wash them. At least try not to. Most berries are kind of delicate. When you wash them they mush up. This makes it harder to freeze them with the best nutrient content.
Blueberries are not that delicate. But if you freeze them wet they will harden into a frozen mass. This makes using them frozen difficult. A hard frozen mass will need to be thawed and drained. You will lose some flavor and nutrients too.
It is much more sensible to freeze them dry. Freeze your blueberries individually on a tray first, then bag em. This makes it easy to open the ziplock freezer bags and remove only the berries you need for recipes. Sneak a hand in the freezer occasionally and grab a few for a snack. Frozen blueberries taste like cold candy! YUM!
THIS is the big advantage of the ziplock bag method for freezing blueberries. You can easily pull out just what you need, reseal and refreeze the rest without damaging them.
A vacuum pack will make your life easier if you are a frequent freezer person. I use ziplock freezer bags. My method is easy and works great. If you have a vacuum pack or plan to buy one that is also a good way to freeze Blueberries.
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FREEZING BLUEBERRIES: THE PROCESS
- Pick perfectly ripe berries for best nutrient and flavor value. This applies to anything you plan to freeze or otherwise preserve.
- Clean pick them as much as possible. This means, as you pick them into the bucket, remove all detritus and stems. This helps immensely reduce your kitchen prep time later
- Bring your perfectly ripe, clean picked blueberries into your kitchen and sort them again for detritus. There will be some stray missed bad berries, dirt, and maybe a stray bug or two.
- Lay the berries on a tray and freeze them for a couple hours to prepare them for the bags.
- The blueberries are cleaned to your satisfaction, dried and pre-frozen on trays, if necessary.
Fill the bags
- The easiest way to fill your bags is with a canning funnel I like this one because you can also use it to fill both wide and narrow mouth canning jars and it fits easily in my kitchen drawers.
- put them into freezer bags. Or vacuum pack them if you have a sealer. I use ziplock one quart freezer bags. They are a good size for a couple of recipes for defrosted berries and are heavy so the berries will not freezer burn. You may use the gallon size if you are into big production but they may be more difficult to work with in a smaller freezer area.
- Do not overfill your bags or leave extra air in them. The idea is that every bag is filled with a bit of headroom for closing the bags and pulling the air out. Air in the bags will expose the food to freezer burn. Avoid this!
- Take out as much air out of the bags, once filled, as possible to help protect your berries in the freezer. You want the bags to appear a bit sucked in when you put them in the freezer. This assures the blueberries are exposed as little as possible to air during freezing. This is the big advantage of vacuum packing!
- The method I use for removing extra air:
- After filling the bag close the ziplock seal almost completely.
- Gently Press the air out, until the berries are compressed but not squashed.
- Then use a straw in the small opening of the partially sealed bag, and suck the air out. Close the seal while quickly removing the straw.
- The main idea is to retain the integrity of the blueberries and reduce the air content in the bag as much as possible.
- If a straw isn’t handy I close the bag almost all the way and then suck out the air on a corner. Works great in a pinch.
Label your bags!
- It’s so baffling to be digging through a pile of frozen blocks, with no idea what’s in them or when they were frozen. They look so different fresh than frozen. Believe me you want to label them! Clearly write on the bags what is in them and the date, inindelible ink pen.
Filling the Freezer
- Lay the bags flat to freeze. Use a cookie sheet if necessary, I have flat surface area in my freezer right now so I just use that. It helps a great deal to maximize your freezer area and protect the bags edges if the bags are flat.
- Defrosting TIP: When you defrost bags with a wet content, put the bags into bowls so they don’t cause streams of leaky, defrosted water all over your kitchen!
Now the work is done. They should stay fresh in the freezer until the next growing season with this method. Enjoy your berries this winter!
Looking for more ways to preserve your summer Harvest?