We went blueberry picking today and we picked a LOT of blueberries. We picked eighteen pounds of blueberries between two adults and four kids. It ended up being a fairly high check out cost but I mean… we also picked a LOT of blueberries. I should know because I’m in the process of freezing them right now!
If you find yourself with an abundance of blueberries either from a blueberry bush in your yard, your local U-pick, or a sale at the grocery store, you may wonder what you can do to preserve their freshness.
I think freezing blueberries is an excellent way to keep them for months and I’m going to teach you now how to freeze blueberries.
What You Need to Freeze Blueberries
- Fresh berries
- Wax paper or Parchment Paper
- Cookie sheets
- Quart Freezer Baggies or Reusable Freezer Baggies
Step One: Pick Your Blueberries
If you live in a rural area, there’s a good chance you have a u-pick farm near you. We have a blueberry farm near us that has an incredible number of blueberries and they’re continuing to grow more bushes. There were so many blueberries on each bush that we probably could have picked our buckets full from 1-2 bushes.
To find a u-pick in your area, ask around. Look on Facebook, check out Google, or ask other people in your community. Hopefully, you have somewhere to go near you!
If all else fails, you can plant your own blueberry bushes. Be warned, it does take a long time for a blueberry bush to start producing a lot of blueberries. I’m talking years, not months of waiting to get a blueberry bush that has enough berries to do something with.
If you don’t want to grow your own or you don’t have a local picking place, you can purchase them in bulk when your local supermarket has them on sale. I’ve had some luck getting cheap blueberries at our local Aldi, and I’ve purchased extra to freeze.
Step Two: Put Your Blueberries on Cookie Sheets
Once your berries are fairly dry, you can put them on cookie sheets. I line mine with parchment paper or wax paper to make it easier to get them off, but you don’t have to do this step. The berries can be put right on the tray.
Remember to remove anything you don’t want frozen like bruised fruit or stems from the blueberry bush. A good rule of thumb with preserving food is — if it’s not good to start, freezing it or canning it will not make it better. So in other words, if you think it looks bad now, toss it in the compost pile. It won’t get better by freezing it.
Do your best to keep the blueberries from touching each other. Many of mine do in the picture, and they were OK. You just want to avoid them sticking together in one giant clump.
Step Three: Put the Blueberries in the Freezer
The fourth step is really easy. To do this, you just need to find a flat spot in your freezer to put your berries that are on the trays. Leave your blueberries in the freezer for a few hours until they’re hard. Most of mine took about 1-2 hours to freeze. Sometimes longer if I had several stacked up.
Freezing them on a cookie sheet really helps alleviate the giant blueberry clump problem that would happen if you just tossed them right in the freezer.
Step Four: Put the Blueberries in Freezer Bags and Label
The final step is easy and satisfying. Once the berries are frozen, you can pop them off the tray and put them into freezer baggies. I like to use reusable freezer bags to save money and produce less plastic waste. While it can sometimes be a pain to wash them, I wouldn’t go back to using one-time-use ones. The reusable ones are better for the environment and it’s cheaper than buying something I’m only going to use once.
If you want you can label the reusable plastic bags with masking tape and a sharpie. If you’re using regular plastic baggies you can write the date right on the bag.
Once the bags are full, seal them and put them back in the freezer. Enjoy beautiful frozen berries for months!
How Long Do the Blueberries Last in the Freezer?
Your frozen blueberries can stay safe to eat in the freezer for around 8-12 months . If the fruit was fresh when frozen it has a longer life. It also lasts longer if they’re kept completely frozen. Berries are susceptible to freezer burn and while that may not affect the safety of the fruit, it will certainly affect the taste.
What to Do With Frozen Blueberries?
Now that you’ve successfully frozen blueberries, what can you do with them? I have some ideas.
1. Make Pie with Frozen Blueberries
Yes, you can make pie with frozen berries! I personally intend on making blueberry tarts in the very near future.
2. Make Jam or Jelly with Frozen Strawberries
If you’re into canning but you’re short on time when you picked your berries, you can always freeze them first. When you’re ready to start making your jams and jellies you can use your frozen berries.
3. Make Smoothies with Frozen Blueberries
We love smoothies at our house and frozen fruit is the perfect addition. I like strawberries and blueberries best, but raspberries work too if you don’t mind seeds.
4. Make Blueberry Ice Cream
Those of you who like to make homemade ice cream with an ice cream maker can use your frozen blueberries to make blueberry-flavored ice cream!
5. Eat Them Frozen
My kids love to eat frozen blueberries exactly as they are. Try it and see what you think!
6. Add Them To Pancakes
You can add frozen blueberries to your favorite pancake recipe for a delicious breakfast.
7. Add Them to Your Favorite Yogurt
You can put some frozen blueberries on top of your morning yogurt or parfait for an extra added flavor.
Frequently Asked Questions About How to Freeze Blueberries
You have questions, I have answers. Here are some answers to some of the most common questions about how to freeze blueberries.
- Should I wash blueberries before freezing them?
OK so I will be honest. I have been washing my blueberries every time! I think it helps remove debris from picking them, little bugs, dirt, etc. However, as I was writing this blog post I discovered that you’re not really supposed to rinse off your blueberries before freezing and there’s a cool reason for this.
Have you ever noticed that blueberries have a sort of film over them? If you run your thumb over them you may notice that they become shinier and darker. This film is called a bloom and it is a natural coating on the blueberry that protects it from things like bacteria and insects. What! I did not know that!
Rinsing of the blueberries removes the coating so no… you should not wash them off before freezing them. You can however rinse them off before you use them for the other reasons I mentioned earlier.
If you still want to wash them off before you freeze them (which I have done successfully) just make sure to pat them dry before you freeze them.
2. How long do fresh blueberries last in the freezer?
Blueberries can last from 6-12 months in the freezer. They may start to get freezer burn during that time period and begin to lose their quality of flavor, but they should continue to be safe to eat for up to a year as long as they stay frozen during that time.
3. Can you eat blueberries frozen?
Yes, you can! My kids love eating them this way!
5. Can you put the blueberries in a plastic container instead of a plastic bag?
You sure can!
6. How to defrost blueberries once they’re frozen.
You can defrost the blueberries by moving them from your freezer to your refrigerator. Leave them there for about 6-8 hours or until they’re soft again.
Defrosted blueberries will be a different texture than they were pre-frozen, so keep that in mind. If you just want them for snacking, you may want to eat them frozen as opposed to thawing them out first.
7. Are frozen blueberries healthy for you?
Blueberries are high in antioxidants, and in a strange scientific twist, freezing them may make them even healthier.
Here’s a quote from BC blueberries explaining why,
Studies conducted at the South Dakota State University show that freezing blueberries makes their powerful antioxidants more available to the human body. This is because anthocyanins, the antioxidant compounds that make blueberries blue, are found in the skin of the berry. Freezing the berries creates tiny ice crystals that disrupt the structure of the cells, which in turn makes it easier for our system to access the anthocyanins contained within the skin.
Keep in mind that the blueberries that will have the most nutritional value will be frozen as quickly as possible after picking. The blueberries you picked days ago won’t have the nutritional value of the ones you picked a few hours ago.
Disclaimer: I am NOT a food safety expert. It’s extremely important to use proper safety when preserving and canning food. For more information about safety check out the USDA guidelines for freezing food. You can also check out the National Center for Home Food Preservation.
Alternative Ways of Preserving Blueberries
Have a lot of strawberries and want to try other ways of preserving them? Yes! Here are some other methods for preserving strawberries.
- Dehydrate the blueberries. Using an Excalibur dehydrator (that’s what I use!) or another type of dehydrator you can dry your blueberries to extend their life.
- Make fruit leather. Using your oven or dehydrator, you can make fruit leather with your blueberries to preserve it.
- Can jams, jellies, and sauces. You can turn your blueberries into jelly or sauce and can them in a water bath canner.
Do You Feel Confident in Knowing How to Freeze Blueberries Now?
Freezing is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to preserve foods and as long as you have freezer space, it’s a great way to store food. We enjoy snacking on frozen fruits for months after we pick them and can be an especially nice treat during the winter months.
If you’re interested in freezing other berries, you can check out my guide how to freeze strawberries as well!
Are you ready to freeze some blueberries? Let me know in the comments if you have any questions or if you have a favorite way to use frozen blueberries! I’d love to hear from you.