How to Freeze Fresh Blueberries

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Use frozen blueberries to make compotes and jams.
Use frozen blueberries to make compotes and jams. (Image: voloshyna/iStock/Getty Images)

Freezing lets you enjoy blueberries all year, not just during their peak summer season. Use improper technique, and your berries may freeze together in one large mass -- rendering them virtually unusable in recipes. Frozen berries will have a slightly mushier texture when thawed, so they are best used in smoothies, added to pancake batter, incorporated into baked goods or eaten as a frozen snack.

Picking Berries

The berries you choose to freeze should be at the peak of ripeness and free of mold. Once you get them home, refrigerate them immediately to lengthen their shelf life. Don't wash your berries before you freeze them, or you'll cause the skins to toughen.

Freeze First

To keep the berries from sticking together, you'll need to follow a two-step freezing process. Place a single layer of berries on a rimmed tray and freeze for an hour, or until frozen solid. Make sure your freezer is at 0 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. Freezers that have a higher temperature lead to degradation of the fruit.

Long-Term Packaging

As soon as the berries are frozen, transfer them to an airtight freezer container, such as a freezer bag. The longer you let them sit on the tray, the more prone they are to freezer burn. Once packaged into a larger container, you can pour out just the amount you need for recipes or snacking. Frozen blueberries will keep for eight to 12 months.

Thawing Your Berries

Simply put frozen blueberries in the refrigerator to thaw overnight. If you need a faster thawed berry, immerse the berries, provided they're in a watertight package, in cold water, until the berries are unfrozen. Ideally, defrost the berries to the point at which they still have a few ice crystals clinging. Over-thawed berries will be mushy. Once thawed, wash and drain the berries and use them right away.

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