Blueberries are a delicious fruit that’s usually available fresh for only a few months every year. Berries require no preparation besides rinsing and work well in all kinds of dishes like fruit salads or even baked goods. In this article we talk about choosing the best berries and how to store them. We also go through the process of freezing and for how long they can be stored before going bad.
How to store blueberries?
Even though sometimes blueberries are available in the not-refrigerated section of the store among other fruit, the proper place to keep them is the fridge. If blueberries came in a plastic clamshell container, keep them in it. If not, consider transferring them to an airtight container or at least wrapping the package with plastic wrap. Of course, wrapping and packaging is only important if you plan to store blueberries for at least a few days. If you’re to eat or use them within a day or two the way the fruit is stored doesn’t make that much of a difference, provided it’s in the refrigerator.
One thing to remember when it comes to blueberries is that you should choose them carefully. Choose ones that are deep blue with a silvery frost and don’t have any rotten or bruised ones in the package. Also, it’s a good idea to open the package after buying and go through the berries one more time and discard any bad ones. This way other berries won’t catch the bacteria that caused this. When going through this process don’t wash or even rinse the berries, as that will speed up the deterioration process significantly. Wash your blueberries only right before serving, freezing, or using in a dish.
Can you freeze blueberries?
Of course you can. You can buy them frozen throughout the year, so you can freeze them yourself if needed. Please remember that frozen and thawed blueberries will become mushy, so eating them on their own might not be that pleasant. They work just fine in most dishes though.
The process of freezing blueberries is quite straightforward:
- Wash the blueberries in cold water
- Drain the water and pat them dry with paper towels (this step is really important!)
- Place them on a cookie tray in a single layer (so they don’t clump together) and flash freeze.
- Once frozen, transfer the berries into a container or freezer bag and back into the freezer
Thaw blueberries overnight in the fridge and use them within two days. Alternatively, you can thaw them at room temperature if you’re to use them right away.
How long do blueberries last?
Blueberries usually last 1 to 2 weeks. It all depends on when they were packaged and if they were stored at a cool temperature the whole time before you’ve bought them. To make sure they last as long as possible, choose the best-looking berries when buying. No bruised or moldy berries gives them a much better chance of lasting for up to two weeks. As already mentioned, if the package has any bad berries, discard them before refrigerating.
When it comes to frozen blueberries, in most cases manufacturers recommend keeping them in the freezer for up to a year. The same goes for blueberries you’ve frozen yourself. Of course, blueberries don’t go bad in the freezer, but the longer they’re frozen, the worse their quality after thawing. The deterioration process that goes on in the freezer is really slow, so keeping them there for an additional month or two won’t make that much of a difference.
How to tell if blueberries are bad?
You will know that a blueberry is spoiled when you see one. First, they become soft and mushy. They aren’t spoiled yet, but you might consider discarding them for quality reasons. If there are any signs of mold or they smell off, just throw the whole package out, especially if they were in the fridge for over a week. Some people try to pick and discard only the bad ones and eat the rest, but that’s usually a bad idea. Better safe than sorry.