When it's BC blueberry season, you need the best tips and tricks to store and freeze your blueberries properly. In this article, you will learn how to choose, freeze and store your blueberries, so you still have more than enough to use long after the BC blueberry harvest.
To successfully store and freeze your blueberries, you need to pick the right berries in the first place. Unlike many fruits such as bananas, tomatoes, avocado and others that ripe after harvest, blueberries don’t ripen once they have been picked off the tree. So, you must make sure to pick only large blueberries with dark-blue or velvety-blue colours.
Luckily, the Whistler Farmers Market vendors selling BC blueberries are the masters of picking the perfect ones!
After picking the ripe blueberries, don’t wash until you are ready to use. Washing before freezing rids the outer coat of its natural protection, which makes it deteriorate quickly.
The first step when freezing your blueberries is to check the blueberries and get rid of any leaves, stems, or excessively soft fruits.
It’s best to use freezer bags when freezing your blueberries because containers allow air pockets that can result in crystallization and freezer burn.
It’s important that you know the number of freezer bags that will be adequate for your needs, so you have to measure the number of blueberries you are going to freeze.
When it’s time to freeze your blueberries, get a big bowl of cold water ready or use the sink. Add the blueberries to the water and then swish them around for about ten seconds before draining in a colander, then allow to dry completely on paper towels. Soaking the blueberries will make them lose taste and become engorged in water.
Line a pan or cookie sheet with lining or plastic wrap, and then pour a layer of blueberries. Be sure that the blueberries are not in contact with each other as the aim is to flash-freeze the berries without them touching. Place the pan on a level freezer shelf and allow to freeze for 30 minutes. You can stack the trays on each other if you have plenty of berries, but make sure there's enough space to allow free movement of the cold air.
When the berries have been frozen for 30 minutes, remove the berries and place into plastic bags. You can suck out the air with a straw or vacuum-seal the bags. Then return the bags into the freezer. Do the same for the rest of the berries until all is frozen.
The frozen berries can stay up to six months in the freezer. You can open them and take a couple of the berries whenever you need to since they are frozen individually. It’s important that you don’t thaw blueberries if you want to use them for baking.
To defrost, pour the berries into a bowl to capture the juices. Allow to sit for one hour or until they reach room temperature. The berries can then be added to your muffins, pies, smoothies, pancakes or enjoyed raw.
We hope you now know how to freeze and keep your BC blueberries from the Whistler Farmers Market, so they last for many months after harvest.