Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Why and How to Freeze Blueberries

Ahh, summer. Full of hazy days, humid nights, and lots and lots of blueberries. Those sweet orbs of azure joy are welcome anytime of year, but especially right now, when they provide a fruitacular (fruitacular?) balm for the grossest weeks of summer.

That's a flowery way of saying that blueberries are currently on major sale at both my supermarket and Costco, going for about $0.16/ounce. That's just about as cheap as they'll get around here, and I want to preserve the bounty for the winter months. (That's when I  crave blueberry pancakes, but have to usually settle for acorn squash pancakes. It's just not the same.)

Fortunately, freezing blueberries for future use is easy as (blueberry) pie, and a heckuva lot cheaper than buying off-season ones come January. All you need to do is follow these simple steps. You'll thank me come Christmas (because surely, there's no one more deserving of expensive gift-like things than a babble-prone, extremely lax blogger you barely know.)

Anyway, let's get to it. 

Step 1: Cut a hole in the box. Buy an Ark-of-the-Covenant-sized carton of blueberries from your local farmer's market, big box store, or preferred fruit venue.


Step 1.5: Get some freezer baggies while you're at it. Honestly, they're nice to have around, regardless. Tom Bosley was right on.


Step 2: Take a picture that you may someday use as a computer background. Make sure it is well-lit and in focus, so people (note: your mom) think(s) you're super awesome.


Step 3: Measure out your desired amount of blueberries. It could be in cup or half-cup increments, or by weight. Whatever you prefer. For my own nefarious purposes, I did eight ounces at a time.

Step 4: Place the blueberries on a small baking sheet. Stick that sheet right in your freezer.

NOTE: Blueberries are weird in that you should generally wait to wash them until right before using 'em. Less mushiness that way.


Step 5: Freeze for a few hours. Overnight is best.

Step 6: While the freezing process is occurring, watch the finale of Friday Night Lights and contemplate your values. Hope that someday you may make Coach Taylor proud.


Step 7: Once berries are frozen through, pour them into a freezer-safe Ziploc baggie. Get as much air out as possible, using a straw or your purty, purty mouth. Then, label that sucker.

NOTE: You do not have to write "Frozen Blueberries," as so brilliantly demonstrated here. Odds are you'll know they're frozen when you remove them from ... wait for it ... yep, the freezer.


And that's pretty much it. The blueberries should keep for a couple of months this way. (If you start seeing major freezer burn or frost buildup, it's probably a pretty good indication they should be used soon.) Try them in smoothies, crisps, or the aforementioned flapjacks. Viva la France!

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31 comments:

Sara said...

I had a friend house/petsit a couple of weekends ago and I had a pint of blueberries in the fridge. I told her she could eat whatever she wanted out of the fridge but the blueberries should be eaten soon. When I got back in town the darling had frozen the entire pint of blueberries in the original carton in a freezer bag. Interestingly enough, the blueberries all froze separately (as in, they didn't stick together).

Moral of the story: I don't think the freezing-on-a-pan option is necessarily the only way to go.

Daniel said...

Nice to have you back Kris. I've been sorely missing your sense of humor and great food advice. Keep it going!

Dan @ Casual Kitchen

Annie said...

Great post! My mom and I used to pick blueberries and one summer we had over 100lbs. What we didn't eat or give away to friends/family, we froze. It was so nice having blueberries all year.

bethany said...

We picked blueberries and froze them last summer, and in my ignorance I washed the lot and dumped them, still damp, into quart-sized baggies. They still froze fine and separated great when I plopped them into pancakes. This method is probably *better* but if you're lazy like me and only want to use them a handful at a time, the ignorant method is ok.

Anonymous said...

I love that you can turn what could have been two lines of basic instruction into a truly entertaining 7 step tutorial. LOL, you're great.

ALEXIS said...

i have to agree with sarah, i almost always freeze my blueberries, even if just for snakcing on them a few hours later as frozen ones, they just taste better to me that way - i always wash them in the carton, let the carton sit on a towel for 5-10min then shake to get off excess water, and freeze em in carton... never had a problem (and a lot less work) though i suppose your sealed off ones would probably actually make it through winter without freezerburn, mine are usually quick turnover so i have yet to document how much freezer damage can creep through the porous carton beyond the 2 week mark

SO HAPPY YOU'RE BACK!!!

flybigd said...

Holla! CHG is back in the 'hood!!!

Claire said...

Oh my gosh, you did NOT make that step 1!!! I was dying laughing over here. I may have to go find that clip on Youtube...

So glad to have you back!!

Rebecca said...

OK forget the fact that I love your food tips and recipes... the fact that you referenced SNL, an 80's commercial, and Deliverance in one single post about blueberries makes me your FAN FOR LIFE. Love you and your sense of humor!!

Janet said...

Great post, and it wonderful to have you back!!! :) You have been missed.

Jeanie said...

I agree--there's no need to pan freeze them first. The won't still together (bless you, blueberries) if you just plop them (I do mine unwashen) in a bag.

My Husband Rules said...

Harrumph, you say you're going to the corner grocery for cigarettes and then you disappear for a month. I shoulda changed that stupid lock, I should have made you leave the key...

Ok, ok, I'm thrilled you're back.

Em Rohrer said...

That is exactly how I freeze blueberries! We get great deals on the blueberries around here at the u-pick places and I have about 10-15 quarts of berries frozen at this point. Can't help it - they're so yummy!

I have noticed that it helped to line the baking sheet with parchment paper or wax paper before freezing, they stick less to the metal and don't get as damaged.

Meister @ The Nervous Cook said...

This will sound crazy, but it would never have occurred to me to freeze a batch or two of perfect summer New Jersey blueberries.

But now that I've discovered the joys of making quick jam, I'm almost certainly going to have to! Thanks for the suggestion & the helpful tips.

Bianca Tamburello said...

I love this post. I'l probably follow these steps to freeze some blueberries for my dorm room in the fall. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

So glad to have you back! The food blog universe has been very quiet and boring without you. I love to freeze blueberries and have them later!

Anonymous said...

LOL. I'd eat that entire thing of blueberries in one sitting. Then again, I'm a fruitarian... :P

Emmy said...

Seriously? Am I the ONLY one wondering why you're talking about the finale of FNL and Coach Taylor is wearing Panther Blue??? Cheez, y'all need to get a life or somthin'... :D

(sidenote: I just pop the blueberry container in the freezer as they come from the market. Unless they're bleeding or mushy, they freeze just like they would on the sheet pan. And I have less dishes to wash)

Anonymous said...

Welcome back, CHG -- whoooeee! Missed you! OK, back to blueberries... I don't bother with the freeze-on-a-tray thing either; I can just picture my bumping the tray and then spending an hour picking blueberries out of the depths of the chest. I just zip 'em in a bag, suck out the air, and toss them in. And, they keep WAY more than 2 months. For sure a year with no problem, and I'll even confess that I've made muffins with some (gasp) 4-year old berries that had somehow surfaced from the cold depths. No one died... ;-)

Kathy S said...

You weren't the only one, Emmy! I've spent a couple of days penning a comment of feigned outrage in my head. Maybe it was in keeping with the blue theme.

Erin said...

Can I just say how happy I am that you're back? I was worried for awhile I would never get your educational. insightful and hilarious posts back into my blog feed. alas, you are back and my world is better! :)

I just learned recently that you can freeze bread, I know I know. DUH but that's why I read these "silly" blogs <3

www.bishella.blogspot.com

Catalina said...

Favorite step. Step 6. Love me some FNL!

No seriously - thanks for the how-to. Although this seems simple enough -- some of us (me) need the culinary things explained :).

Savannah W. said...

Thanks so much for these simple directions on how to freeze blueberries. Found them on sale and wanted to hang on to them as long as I could. Blueberries are on the baking sheet in the freezer right now. Love the site. Thanks again!

Heather said...

I love frozen blueberries. My daughter and I eat them regularly at breakfast simply with a little natural yoghurt. Yum.

Molly said...

Freezing fruit has become my new favorite thing to do. Not only is it even more refreshing than regular fruit, but it is a way to decrease how much you eat. I usually will by frozen fruit at the grocery store but I am going to start doing it with fresh fruit that I purchase.

Mother Rimmy said...

Love this post. We are big Friday Night Lights fans and you're too funny with the picture. Good job and great information. :)

anastasiastarz said...

We only have 7 ounces packs here, and they're $3+ all year around, peaking at $7 in winter.

P.S I've never seen a tub of blueberries that big before!

Chops said...

Nice technique - the bonus? You can use those frozen blueberries as an ice pack for injuries in a pinch!

A said...

Okay, I need berry-related advice. I am about to move to Tacoma, WA (from Sacramento, California) and I noticed that up there, blackberries just grow everywhere. EVERYWHERE. They're like weeds. People pull over to the side of the road and pick buckets and Ziplock bags full. I want to do that too; the thought of just grabbing food from nature and eating it kind of blows my mind. (I grew up in Wyoming... stuff doesn't really grow there. I have an orange tree in my backyard in Sacramento, and that has been mind-blowing and awesome.) My question: can you freeze blackberries? And if so, how? And for how long? And then what do I do with them? Berries are so alien.

Megan said...

I thought frozen blueberries were the craziest thing when a friend of mine offered me some over the summer. I attempted to freeze some blueberries once and I simply washed them off, threw them in a bag, and tossed them in the freezer. Some were eatable, many were mush. I love the idea of laying them out on a cookie sheet and freezing. Also, I always washed produce when I first bring it home not thinking that I could just as easily wash it off before I consume it...thanks for the tips!

david2901 said...

I love putting blueberries straight from the freezer and putting them in a crumble