IT’S BLUEBERRY SEASON!!! Can you tell I’m just a tad excited? I snagged a really great price on a dozen pints this week, and as I was cleaning them up, thought you might like to know my time-tested method to clean and store fresh blueberries. I usually don’t post this much in a week, but since this one is very timely, I hope you won’t mind.
Step 1: Cleaning Blueberries
Don’t eat them all on the way home. Nom nom nom. It’s a problem I have. Usually I eat my fill out in the blueberry fields, but this year I “picked” mine from the store. Within a day or so of bringing them home, rinse blueberries a pint at a time under cool running water. Blueberries are grown in sandy fields, so you definitely want to rinse them.
Step 2: Cleaning and Sorting Blueberries
Prepare a cookie sheet (one that has raised sides) by putting a clean dish towel over the top. After your blueberries have drained in the strainer, gently dump them onto the dish towel and spread them out to a single layer. Now you can sort them to remove any stems and squished berries. Just let them sit for a moment or two, and they’ll also dry nicely.
Step 3: Storing Fresh Blueberries
Once cleaned and sorted, gently transfer the blueberries o a storage container to keep in the fridge. I like these Tupperware “FridgeSmart” containers I’ve had forever that keep fresh items longer depending on how you set the two front vents. Blueberries require that the two front vents both be closed. Whatever container you use, be sure not to fill the container more than an inch or so deep, so you don’t crush the berries on the bottom. These can go in the fridge and eaten within a week.
Step 4: Freezing Fresh Blueberries
If you have a separate freezer (or if you live alone and can devote your entire freezer compartment to these beauties, like I used to do), you can easily freeze your own blueberries. Once cleaned and sorted, transfer them into freezer storage bags, gently roll up to remove excess air, and lay flat in the freezer. You can fit 2 or 3 pints in one gallon freezer bag without squishing. Lay no more than 2 or 3 bags on top of each other while they are still freezing, again to avoid crushing. Once frozen, you can stack them high! I love frozen blueberries as a treat well into winter.
It only takes me about 15 minutes to prepare 12 pints of blueberries like this. Then, if you must, you can use them for all sorts of things, like blueberry pancakes and these great recipes below. Me? I’ll just be eating mine out of the fridge for the next week. Happy summer!