Can you freeze blueberries? You sure can! This super easy step by step photo tutorial on how to freeze blueberries will show you how. It can be such a great way to save money and enjoy blueberries all year long!
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It’s currently blueberry season around here, so we’re enjoying lots of fresh, juicy blueberries. I’ve been having fun making some of our favorite blueberry recipes and trying a few new ones, too. So yummy!
And of course, since I’m a fan of preserving produce, I’ve also been busy freezing blueberries to enjoy all year long.
The great thing about blueberries is that they are super easy to freeze and they are almost just as delicious frozen as they are fresh. In fact, some of my family actually prefers frozen blueberries over fresh ones!
We also use them in smoothies (peach/blueberry is our favorite), and frozen blueberries work wonderfully in most recipes that call for fresh blueberries, too.
Freezing blueberries is also a great way to save money since it’s almost always cheaper than buying frozen blueberries from the store.
I like to watch for good sales on blueberries when they are in season and then buy large quantities of them to freeze. Of course, if you have the option to pick your own blueberries, that’s even cheaper!
How do you freeze blueberries?
Let me show you how. You’ll love how super easy it is! First, you’ll need to gather your supplies.
The supplies you’ll need:
- Cookie Sheet or Towel (optional as mentioned in step #3 below)
- Freezer Bags or Freezer Containers
How to freeze blueberries (a step by step tutorial)
1. Wash Blueberries
Pour fresh blueberries into a sink or dishpan and cover with water. Swish around and rinse.
2. Remove any stems, bugs and green or mushy berries.
Once you pick out anything that shouldn’t be frozen, transfer the berries to a colander. (I usually take a handful of berries at a time and quickly look them over for any stems or bad berries, then put them in the colander.)
Turn the colander frequently to make sure all the water gets drained from the berries. (Usually, I end up continuing to drain water off as I remove the berries for step #4, as water seems to keep collecting.)
Now you have several options:
A. You can dump the drained blueberries onto a cookie sheet, making sure they are single layer only, then flash freeze for at least 2 hours before going to step #4.
B. You can dump the blueberries onto a towel and gently pat dry before going to step #4.
C. You can be lazy like I am and keep things super easy and simply drain the berries really, really well and then go to step #4.
The advantage of option A and B are that the berries almost never freeze together. Some people feel like that is important and prefer doing the extra step of A or B. However, since we typically use our berries in smoothies or for eating frozen by themselves, I keep things simple and do option C. The random times that I end up using our blueberries for baking, I just carefully pull apart any berries that are frozen together then. It’s easy to do then and only takes a few extra seconds and I feel like the extra hassle saved is worth it!
4. Transfer to freezer-safe bags or containers.
If using Ziploc bags, remove as much air as possible, then freeze.
Alternatively, you can freeze your blueberries in freezer containers like I do instead. I love the Arrow Plastics StorKeeper freezer containers and highly recommend them! They stack nicely and you can use them over and over again for years, so they quickly pay for themselves. We’ve felt like they’ve been a great investment!
How Long Do Fresh Blueberries Last in the Freezer?
As long as they have been stored properly, usually 6 to 12 months. You could also use a vacuum sealer which could add a couple more months of freshness. Keep them in the back of your freezer so they are exposed to warmer air every time you open and shut the freezer door.
Do Blueberries Get Mushy After Freezing?
Nope, not really! Just be sure to pick out the mushy ones before freezing. If you are worried about mushy berries, then use the flash freeze method before transferring them to a freezer-safe bag or container, and they will turn out beautifully!
How Do You Defrost Blueberries Without Getting Them Mushy?
Once they come out of the freezer they can be eaten, depending on what you are using them for. If you need to thaw them, avoid using the microwave. Allow them to come to room temperature or thaw them in cold water.
Do Frozen Blueberries Have the Same Health Benefits as Fresh?
Contrary to belief, yes they do. Even after they have been frozen they still maintain all of their nutrition and antioxidants. Without getting all sciencey, some studies show that there is more nutrition in frozen blueberries because the antioxidants are responsible for the color (in the outer layer) and by preserving them, the antioxidants are more readily available.
How to Freeze Fresh Blueberries
- Cookie Sheet or Towel
- Freezer Bag or Freezer Containers
- fresh blueberries (of course!)
- Add the blueberries to the sink or dishpan and cover them with water. Swish around, then rinse them off.
- Pick out any stems or berries that are mushy and transfer them to a colander.
- Drain off all of the water. You can either let them drain well in the colander, transfer them onto a towel and pat dry, or dump them onto a cookie sheet in a single layer and flash freeze them for at least 2 hours before moving to the next step.
- Transfer the blueberries to Ziploc bags, removing as much air as possible. Place in freezer and freeze.
- You can use freezer containers instead of Ziploc bags.
- If you don’t want your berries to freeze together, then be sure to use the flash freeze method or pat them dry on a towel before actually freezing.
I’ve been freezing blueberries for years, using your techniques. For me, lining a small tray with wax paper works best before putting the blotted berries in a single layer to freeze. Once solidly frozen, I put them in “snack size” baggies & use them in smoothies, breads/muffins, even an easy jam that consists of : equal quantities (1-1/2 c.) blueberries and raspberries (puree first & strain out seeds) in a pot with 1/4 c. pure maple syrup (I sometimes substitute microplane-grated piloncillo–raw compacted sugar in a cone), zest of one lemon with 1 Tbsp. juice, 3 Tbsp. black chia seeds, and 2 tsp. vanilla. Combine everything but chia &vanilla, cooking over medium heat until berries release liquid and starts to simmer. Reduce heat to simmer, uncovered, 3 minutes. Mash berries with potato masher and stir in chia seeds. Mix well, simmering 2 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, adding vanilla, and let cool completely. Jam thickens as it cools. Store in airtight jar in the frig about 1 week or freeze. Makes about 1-1/4 cups. [modified from janetandgreta.com]
I know a lot of people love laying the blueberries out in a single layer to freeze…I’m just too lazy to bother with that step! 🙂 And that jam sounds amazing! Yum! I love that it’s so easy and for a jam, healthy too. Thanks for sharing it!
I have been told not wash my blueberries before freezing, it better to wash when you need them. That came from an ag extension officer. University of Georgia puts out a book about all type of canning and freezing.
I’m sure you can do it that way too. I just prefer to have them washed and ready to use since it really speeds up any kind of food prep later- which is huge for me!
My blueberries make ice crystals and dry up
Can you help
Hmmm…I’m not exactly sure, but I wonder if a) the berries aren’t dry enough when they are frozen b) there package they were frozen in wasn’t airtight (as in all the excess air wasn’t squeezed out of a Ziploc bag).
I Googled to confirm my suspicions and this article about freezer burn seemed to agree that these two things are likely the culprit. I hope you can get it remedied! It’s super frustrating when things like this happen.
Ps. I’m guessing that even dried up, they should still be fine to use in baked goods.
Yum! I love blueberries and my kids love them too. Thanks for the tips.