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How to Store Blueberries


This is a close look at a bunch of fresh ripe blueberries.

Loaded with antioxidants and with the sweet, tangy flavor that everyone loves, blueberries are a summer treat that many people anticipate during the long, cold winter months. If you have been to the grocery store, farmer’s market, or to the blueberry farm, and you now have mounds of tasty berries that you need to store, you can use one of these four methods to preserve the fresh fruit taste of summer for as long as possible or even for later on in the year.

When you know how to store blueberries, you can enjoy them almost all year long. 

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Storing Fresh Blueberries at Room Temperature

If you have fresh berries that you intend to eat within a day or so, you can simply store them in a breathable container on the kitchen counter. However, before you set them aside to enjoy, you may want to dump the berries onto a clean kitchen towel and pick out any moldy or spoiled berries.

One moldy blueberry will spread rot throughout the whole batch. Line your breathable container with a paper towel. Return the berries to the container, and you can eat them every time you pass by and need a quick little snack.

This is a close look at a freshly-baked blueberry pie with a slice and fresh blueberries on the sides.

You can also dip the blueberries in a vinegar bath to remove any bacteria that could lead to rotten blueberries. Fill a bowl with water and add vinegar in a ratio of 2 tablespoons of white vinegar to every 3 cups of cool water. Dip the berries in this bowl and swirl them around in the water. Remove them with a slotted spoon and place them on a clean dishtowel or a double layer of paper towels. You may even want to use a salad spinner to get as much water off of them as possible.

Make sure they are completely dried before you store them back in their container. You probably should put a clean paper towel in the bottom of the container to absorb any liquid. Blueberries rinsed in this manner may keep for up to five days, but check them every day to remove any moldy blueberries. If they start getting soggy or soft, you should plan on freezing them or dehydrating them for long-term storage. 

Fresh blueberries are wonderful to eat out of hand, but they are also great in baked goods like a blueberry pie or cakes. They make wonderful garnishes and are fabulous in fruit salads. 

Storing Fresh Blueberries in the Fridge

Fresh blueberries are very delicate and perishable, but you can store them for up to a week or maybe even ten days if you decide to store them in the refrigerator. If you want to store fresh blueberries to enjoy throughout the week, it is best to store unwashed berries in the fridge. Washed berries will start to break down and spoil, and you will end up with moldy berries if you wash them prior to storage.

Store berries in the refrigerator in an open container lined with a paper towel. The paper towel will absorb any moisture released by the blueberries and help to keep them dry. Moisture will make them rot more quickly. The cool temperatures of the refrigerator will also help the berries keep fresh for longer.

If you have a large number of blueberries, divide them into smaller bowls so that the weight of the berries en masse will not crush the ones on the bottom. Put the berries into a breathable container, like a basket to store them.

Freezing Blueberries

This is a close look at a couple of blueberry smoothies with fresh blueberries.

Freezing blueberries is the quickest and easiest way to store blueberries for long-term enjoyment. Although frozen blueberries may not be used for things like garnishing cakes and fruit salads, you can definitely use them for many other kinds of foods. You can put them in blueberry muffins, blueberry pancakes, and other baked goods. Additionally, they are wonderful in smoothies as a nutritionally loaded breakfast treat. 

To freeze your harvest of farmed or wild blueberries, you will first want to clean the berries. Rinse them in a large colander, picking out any bits of plant material and running them under cool water. Shake the colander to remove as much water as possible. 

Line a cookie sheet with a clean dish towel and pour the rinsed berries onto the dishtowel. Roll the blueberries around to remove as much water as you can from the fresh fruit. Gather the dish towel by the corners, gathering the berries within it in a pouch. Gently, open up a corner of the dish towel and pour the now clean and dry blueberries back onto the rimmed baking sheet. 

Put the cookie sheet into your freezer, keeping the tray level, and let them freeze for four to six hours. When the time is up, use a spatula to loosen the berries from the baking sheet. You can store the berries in zip-top freezer bags, pressing out all the air from the bag. Alternatively, you can store them in plastic freezer containers. 

Label the blueberries with the date that you froze them. Frozen berries will have the best quality if used within 3 months, but you may be able to use them for up to 10 months! 

Drying Blueberries

A wooden container filled with freeze-dried blueberry raisins with fresh ones on the side.

Native Americans dried their blueberry harvests to preserve these berries, which were an essential part of their diets. They needed the vitamins and minerals and the sugars in the blueberries, and they worked hard to save the berries for the off-season. Natives would lay fresh berries on mats and set them out in the sun to dehydrate.

The lack of water in the dried berries would keep the berries from rotting or spoiling, and the blueberries could be packed away for long-term storage. Sometimes, the Natives would put the blueberry drying mats near their fires, giving the berries a smoky flavor when eaten later.

Modern people no longer have to use sunshine to create dried blueberries, although you can do it the old-fashioned way if you desire. However, if you have an oven or an electric dehydrator, you can dry your blueberries much more quickly.

To dry blueberries, first, wash and pick through the berries to eliminate any spoiled ones. Put the blueberries in your electric dehydrator and set it to 115 degrees Fahrenheit. You probably want to use the screen in your dehydrator, since the berries will shrink significantly in drying and may fall through the holes in the dehydrator tray. Dry the berries for 18 to 24 hours. 

If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can still dry berries with your oven. Put clean, dry blueberries on a rimmed baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper. Set the oven to 135 degrees Fahrenheit and bake them for about 10 hours. You can do a large batch of blueberries all at once using this method. 

Store dried blueberries in tightly sealed zip-top bags or in a mason jar with a tightly fitted lid. One thing that is great about dried blueberries is that they take up much less space in storage because they shrink so much when most of the water is removed.