Blueberries are only in season for a few weeks. So if you want to have fresh-tasting blueberries all year, but you don't want to pay outrageous supermarket prices for imported berries, you'll need to take action when they're ripe in your area. That means freezing your own blueberries for use later.
Frozen (and then defrosted) blueberries aren't as good as fresh (freezing changes the texture and sometimes the taste a bit), but they work fine in pancakes and muffins, in smoothies, or as a topping for your oatmeal.
If you grow your own blueberries (which is surprisingly easy and yields more every year), you'll want to freeze some of them for later use. But even if you buy your blueberries, you still can freeze them. Just purchase them when they're in season and cheap (maybe work a deal with a local farmer), eat what you want, and preserve the rest.
How to Freeze Blueberries Successfully
To do this, you'll want the freshest possible blueberries. In addition, some people say that smaller blueberries freeze better than larger ones, but if your crop is mainly large berries, don't worry too much about that.
- Wash your blueberries in a colander and pat them completely dry. Make certain there's no water remaining when you place them in the freezer.
- Sort out any under-ripe, over-ripe, bruised or otherwise damaged berries. Also remove any leaves, stems or debris.
- Pour the blueberries onto a cookie sheet in a single layer. This will keep them from freezing together in clumps.
- Clear out a flat space in your freezer for your cookie sheet.
- Place the tray in the coldest part of your freezer, and leave it there until the berries are completely frozen.
- Transfer the frozen blueberries to a freezer bag or another freezer-safe container of your choice. Do this quickly to make sure they don't start to defrost. Strong zipper-lock plastic bags work fine.
- Place your blueberries in a freezer spot that protects them from being crushed by heavier frozen foods.
Your frozen blueberries should keep in the freezer indefinitely, but they are best used within six months of freezing, especially if you don't have a particularly cold freezer.
More Freezing Tips
If you're preserving a lot of food, it's easy to get confused about what's in your freezer. Stay on top of this by labeling all bags and containers with their contents and the date that you froze them. Then, tack a freezer inventory list on the door, so you can see what you have at a glance.