How to Store Blueberries
There is nothing more disappointing than opening a clamshell of blueberries to discover a sodden, moldy mess. Since they're one of the hardier berries, you might think the best way to store blueberries is to simply pop the container in the fridge. But when it comes to the best way to store blueberries at home, you might be surprised at what steps you can take to ensure you have fresher berries for longer. We have some tips and tricks to help you enjoy these healthful purple orbs, and will show you how to best store blueberries without wasting a single one.
When choosing blueberries at the store, you want plump, dark purple berries with an even frosty blush. The skins should be taut, not wrinkled, and the berries should be firm and not mushy. Be sure to look at the bottom of the container for signs of mold or juiciness, which can indicate smashed berries hiding in the mix.
Prepping Properly Before Storing Fresh Blueberries
Your best bet when you want to store blueberries in the fridge is to not wash them until the day you intend to eat them. Introducing water and dampness creates an environment ideal for bacteria, mold and rot.
Once you get your berries home, remove them from the container you purchased them in, and transfer to a wide shallow dish. This will allow you to find and remove any berries that are red or green, since they are underripe and will be sour and bitter, and any that are bruised, broken or moldy.
If you are going to store fresh-picked blueberries that you have gathered yourself or purchased from a farmers' market, remove any leaves, twigs or debris, and be sure to look carefully for insects. If you plan to eat or cook with all of the berries within a day, whether using them in a cooked or raw recipe, place them in a colander or sieve and rinse under cold running water. Then, lay them in a single layer on a sheet pan lined with lint-free paper towels or tea towels, and gently roll the berries around to help dry them off. Let the blueberries dry uncovered at room temperature for about an hour, occasionally rolling them around to be sure they are not damp.
Storing Fresh Blueberries in the Refrigerator
Transfer the dry berries to an airtight container lined with a layer of paper towels. Make sure to put them in a shallow layer so that the weight of the berries doesn't crush the ones on the bottom. A layer no deeper than an inch and a half or so is fine. Then transfer to the fridge, but don't stash them in your crisper drawers, where the environment is naturally more humid; keep them on a middle or upper shelf. If you store your blueberries this way, they will last 5 to 10 days and retain their best qualities.
Storing Fresh Blueberries in the Freezer
You may have noticed a lot of recipes that call for frozen blueberries. Freezing blueberries is one of the best ways to store them. Whether you bought more than you need for immediate use, or have some that are beginning to lose their freshness, frozen blueberries are a terrific ingredient to have stashed away for all sorts of recipes.
Start by prepping them the same way you would for same-day use. Once you have picked them over, washed them and put them out to dry, just transfer the sheet pan to your freezer for an hour or two, uncovered, so that the berries freeze individually and not in a clump. Once solid, you can transfer them to a freezer bag or an airtight freezer storage container, or even vacuum-seal them for longer-term storage. To thaw, just pop them into the fridge the night before you want to use them or use them straight from frozen. Blueberries will last up to six months in the deep freeze.
What to Do Once You Know How to Store Blueberries
Now it is time to get cooking and eating! Obviously, blueberries are amazing just eaten out of hand as a snack, or garnishing your morning cereal. In fact, these healthy berries can be a wonderful start to your day, and if you want some breakfast inspiration, just check out 28 of our favorite blueberry breakfast recipes. But blueberries go way beyond breakfast. Try a Spinach Salad with Steak and Blueberries for a hearty lunch or light supper. Having friends for brunch or afternoon tea? These Lemon Honey Parfaits with Blueberries are a fresh and elegant treat. And it goes without saying that they make for delicious desserts, whether you go for a refreshing meal-ender like a Ginger-Blueberry Sorbet or something homey and comforting like a Nectarine Blueberry Crisp.