Introduction: How to Freeze Blueberries

High in antioxidants, blueberries are considered a "super fruit." In order to reap the health benefits of these tasty little berries all year, while taking advantage of seasonal prices, freezing is an easy way to preserve them.

While there may technically be no "wrong" way to freeze, i discovered very quickly that just throwing fresh berries into a container and tossing it into the freezer becomes a frustrating method when it's time to retrieve them, because they stick together in one big, hard, lump.

I will show you the deceivingly simple way to keep your berries from sticking.

Step 1: Pick Your Berries

For many of us, this may be as simple as finding a few boxes in the produce section with no mushy berries while they happen to be on sale. However, I highly suggest visiting a "pick your own" farm, if at all possible. These places offer bulk prices, and of course, you can be sure you're getting your berries at peak ripeness. Besides, it's a fun way to spend your morning!

Some tips for berry picking:
  • Call ahead or check the farm's website to confirm availability; crops can vary greatly from year to year in both quantity and quality due to weather and over-picking
  • Pick early in the morning, especially in hot weather, for peak flavor
  • Bring containers if your farm doesn't provide them
  • Dress comfortably; sometimes the best berries require reaching

I suggest picking as many as your freezer will hold. They get eaten faster than you expect. We brought home 17 lbs, and in a week and a half have probably already consumed or given away half.

Step 2: Rinse and Arrange

Rinse your berries in a colander and remove any stems or stray leaves and wildlife.

Then pat dry and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet that will fit flat in your freezer (notice mine is very small). I suggest placing a clean, dry dish towel on the bottom of the tray so the berries do not stick to it.

Step 3: Place in Freezer

Place your baking sheet in the freezer, preferably flat against the shelf to prevent the berries from rolling into one another. Ideally, the berries should touch one another as little as possible.

If you have many berries, feel free to stack two or more trays, so long as there's space for cold air to move through. I used a large knife to create a gap.

Wait about 4 hours, or until all berries are frozen through, before moving on to the next step.

Step 4: Fill Containers

Once the berries are frozen solid, choose containers to keep them in. Many people prefer freezer bags or plastic containers, but i like glass.

  • If you use plastic, you can use a straw to suck out excess air before completely sealing to help prevent freezer burn.
  • If you use glass, do not attempt to thaw contents by placing the container in hot or boiling water. Glass does not appreciate such treatment, and may break and harm you in retribution.

If you have still more berries to freeze, simply balance the trays on top of the containers. Watch in amusement while your husband attempts to open the door and remove other frozen items without making a mess or smashing his toes.

Step 5: Consume Berries

Blueberries are small and thaw quickly, so for most recipes, there is no need to thaw them before use. Any berries that are stuck together should be very easy to nudge apart. I usually just shake the jar gently before opening.

Some easy things to do with your berries:

Parfaits
  • Yogurt (plain or any flavor; i used strawberry)
  • Blueberries
  • Granola
Layer in whatever quantity or manner appeals to you.

Blueberry Crisp
  • blueberries (enough to fill a pie plate or whatever at least 3/4 full)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour (unbleached, whole wheat, whatever; it doesn't effect the texture much)
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup oats
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
This recipe is ridiculously easy. Put the blueberries in the dish. Mix the remaining ingredients in a bowl with a fork. Crumble mixture over berries. Bake for 30 minuets at 375 degrees.

Or just tie a ribbon around a full jar and give it to a friend.

Comments

author
EileenA8 (author)2016-07-05

Thank you for the easy to follow instructions to freeze blueberries. I only picked about 3 pounds. Sounds like I"ll have to go back and pick more.

author
bpriddy (author)2016-06-30

What if you boil the berries? Could you use the liquid for jelly?

author
Senthil KumarB (author)2015-08-15

author
drgnldyblu (author)2013-08-09

Awesome idea! I recently purchased a food saver jar sealer ~ going to try that and see how long they last and what the quality is like. Thanks!

author
Tintan (author)2011-09-06

Thanks Hippie Mama, I just purchased several pints today at a decent price of 1.88 Canadian. Intuition said to do something like you said, but wondered about the rinsing especially. Very much like the glass container idea. I have many, but did not think of using if for the fruit. Cool! Beautiful pictures!

author
codongolev (author)2008-06-25

or just throw them all in liquid nitrogen....

author
hippie_mama (author)codongolev2008-06-25

I believe that may be overkill for my purposes, but I totally encourage you to write your own Instructable about it. ;)

author
codongolev (author)hippie_mama2008-06-25

why write an instructable? 1. put blueberries in liquid nitrogen. 2. take them out.

author
hippie_mama (author)codongolev2008-06-25

1. Because that's the purpose of the site. 2. Because some people do not know how to use, handle, or even obtain LN2. 3. Because there are safety issues to consider. 4. Because it would be just plain entertaining. 5. Because you're being rude and somewhat condescending in my comments section and should maybe just step up some. :D

author
codongolev (author)hippie_mama2008-06-27

umm, I don't even know how to use, handle or obtain LN2. I just know it's real cold.

author
codongolev (author)codongolev2011-06-14

again, that guy up there with the same username as me but earlier timestamp is not a smart person. don't listen to him.

author
dacker (author)codongolev2010-09-05

Mere mortals cannot readily obtain liquid nitrogen anyway. I'm not sure if it the law or if the industry self-regulates for the obvious liability reasons. Besides, you must have a dewar, which cost $500 and up, to transport and store it.

author
PyroManiac96 (author)hippie_mama2008-06-26

she's gotcha there codongolev :D

author
codongolev (author)PyroManiac962008-06-28

touche.

author

You go Hippie Mama. Some people aren't happy unless they are taking someone down.

author
dhoover1 (author)codongolev2011-06-14

As IF codongolev...those of us that live in tiny wee towns in the middle of nowhere, as I do - wouldn't have the faintest idea of how to go about obtaining liquid nitrogen. For that matter, I can barely obtain the blueberries here - they usually cost about $5 a pint, even in season - and I want to be able to eat them every day for the antioxidant qualities they have. So thank you to the wonderful person that posted the instructions...you are an angel. :)

author
codongolev (author)dhoover12011-06-14

I was fourteen when I wrote that comment. I was also kind of an idiot. I regret the comment but shall leave it there because I feel that removing a comment is cheating at life, because you can't take back things you said in reality.

this instructable is, in fact, a wealth of knowledge. it is a helpful guide in the freezing and consuming of the (sometimes rare) blueberry. don't listen to the fourteen-year-old up there pretending to be witty, he just thinks frozen liquids are cool and that everyone else is wrong because fourteen-year-olds are like that sometimes.

author

is it true that you can freeze most fruits in liquid nitrogen and when you take them out they will be like before you put them in it?

author
Boowiggins (author)2010-07-25

Glass is smarter than risking Bisphenol A in most plastics...

author
Yumeji (author)Boowiggins2010-09-06

You do know that most canning jar lids have a coat of BPA-containing plastic on them to prevent corrosion.

author
Boowiggins (author)Yumeji2011-05-12

Sure do! But still, if you stay below that lid the amount of food exposure to BPA should be much less than it would be if the food surface area made more contact with the BPA-ridden plastic.

author
hippie_mama (author)Yumeji2010-09-06

If you leave enough head space, the food will rarely if ever make any contact with the lid.

author
Boowiggins (author)hippie_mama2010-09-06

I would surmise that the relatively small amount of BPA leechage into whatever possible condensation that may occur in that space for however long or short of time might be irrelevant in the face survival - "Long Live...The Fighters!"

author
uzziah0 (author)2010-09-29

We go blue berry picking every year near Braidwood, great fun, and better than store bought.
My sister-in-law freezes without washing, my wife washes (she towel dries them very well, so I think that helps a lot).
My wife freezes them on cookie sheets covered in wax paper. Usually overnight, since we're usually finishing up around 10 or so at night.
She puts them into zip lock bags, and uses a straw to suck the extra air out.
We use them in pancakes and smoothies or yogurt, but we also put them on breakfast cereal still frozen. They are good this way, better than if you defrosted them. If you defrost them they'll be too mushy.
My son loves them right out of the freezer as a snack.

Thanks for th ible.

author
sunevesor (author)2010-09-07

Thanks for this. I have been freezing small round fruits like this for years, BUT...
putting the cloth on the tin is an excellent idea that I have not been using and I hated that the berries stuck to the tin. The cloth will help them release from the pan easier.
YEA! No more sticking!

author
genera (author)2010-09-05

WHEN PICKING BLUEBERRIES I PICK THE BLUE ONES, WHY SO MANY COLOURS FOR CONTRAST?

author
hippie_mama (author)genera2010-09-06

Because i had a 2-, 4-, and 6-year-old 'helping.'

author
genera (author)hippie_mama2010-09-06

Just many different tastes in each mouthful huh.

author
mathews98 (author)2010-07-24

can you use this to freeze other berries like blackberries or raspberries and can you use it to freeze something not even berriesh like grapes as long as they're small and round?

author
firefly68 (author)mathews982010-09-06

Works great for any fruit, but a couple of notes. Do NOT wash raspberries, blackberries, or other such multi-lobed berries before freezing, they will be tasteless. (If you're picking wild berries you may get the occasional little bug, which you can remove and set free outside, but you don't have to worry about pesticides or soil, so they really don't need washing.) Be sure to hull strawberries first; when thawed, strawbs will get mushy so are best used for smoothies and such. Another good way to do strawberries is to slice, combine with sugar, and freeze in 1 cup containers. The sugar will make a little sauce for shortcake. We pick wild blueberries here (yummmmm). To wash them easily, I place them in a bowl of water. The leaves and twigs and unripe or bad berries float to the top. I just skim them off, drain and pat dry the berries, and freeze as hippie_mama said. They can be packed tightly on a large cookie sheet, which can be flexed by gently twisting the opposite corners, and all the berries will pop free. Thanks hippie_mama, and a big thanks for letting your little helpers think they really helped! :-)

author
hippie_mama (author)mathews982010-07-24

Yes! I would use this method to freeze just about anything small and vaguely round.

author
tekym (author)2010-09-05

The best way to freeze fruit is as quickly as possible, ie, via dry ice. Fast freezing doesn't let ice crystals grow very large; large ice crystals shred cell walls and lead to soft, leaky fruit when you thaw it.

author
sandyhu26 (author)2010-09-05

The reason your berries stuck together is because you washed them BEFORE freezing. The skins absorb the water and will be tougher later on. If you pick from a farm where they don't spray the berries, the worst thing that has been on them is your fingers, no joke. If you must wash them - like if you bought them from the supermarket - do it after you pull them from the freezer, before you put them in whatever you are cooking them in. You are working too hard!

author
novakfor3 (author)2010-09-05

Lol, first thought was 'How did this get featured? Just stick 'em in the fridge!' How to properly freeze blubberies, more like it. Great 'ible tho!

author
hippie_mama (author)novakfor32010-09-05

Well, as they say, one man's "DUH" is another man's "HOLY CRAP, I HAD NO IDEA!!!" For instance, i learned to refill a Brita pitcher filter through this site--i felt really stupid when i realized that all you have to do is replace the activated charcoal. Duh! I haven't done the math, but i'm guessing i've saved an embarrassing amount of cash with that one.

author
snoopy11 (author)2009-07-28

I froze blueberries in the plastic container they came in and when i defrosted them they were all mushy. They weren't firm like they were when i put them in the freezer...what did i do wrong?

author
dacker (author)snoopy112010-09-05

Besides what hippie_mama said, the plastic containers have lots of air holes. This makes the berries dry out in the low temp/low humidity environment of your freezer, a.k.a. freezer burn. I freeze 15-20#/year and use zipper bags (e.g. Zip-Loc), taking time to evacuate as much air as possible. The generally flat design allows for faster freezing, they stack nicely and conform their shape to each other and to other items in the freezer, resulting in less wasted space.

author
hippie_mama (author)snoopy112009-07-28

They do come out softer than they go in; i don't think there's any way around that with standard kitchen equipment.

author
dhellew2 (author)2010-09-05

The only way to freeze blue berries is to just stick them in the freezer right out of the box, unwashed. They will not stick together. When you use them dump some in a bowl, add cold water and presto they are washed. Dale

author
fezrock (author)2010-07-24

Thanks for such a great, simple idea! Another preservation aid is to displace air in your jar or bag with CO2. I homebrew, and always have it on hand. Just let some flow in for a few seconds. The CO2 is heavier, and will displace the air with no special vacuum techniques needed. Then seal your container. This prevents excess oxidation and freezer burn from air's humidity.

author
tswill2 (author)fezrock2010-07-25

What's the connection between home brewing and CO2? tswill2

author
Derin (author)tswill22010-07-25

It's used to pressurize kegs of beer.

author
fezrock (author)Derin2010-07-26

Yes, and to carbonate it.

author
Beergnome (author)fezrock2010-08-01

its also a by product of Fermentation

author
fezrock (author)Beergnome2010-08-01

Yes, but unless I bottle, I carbonate directly. Maybe one day I'll naturally ferment a batch as a whole. Still, the tank is primo for dispensing beer without introducing O2.

author
Beergnome (author)fezrock2010-08-01

I do it for a living ;) we force carbonate as a rule. we only naturally carbonate for special order casks. our economy of scale doesn't allow otherwise.. fezrock it is possible to create a counter pressure rig for judging bottles for your homebrew, I'm sure there is an instructable for it,, if not there should be. it requires you creating an envelope of CO2 in the bottle, then having a T rig that will take the beer under pressure in the bottle with counter pressure of CO2 to keep the dissolved CO2 in the beer in solution. Its a bit of work, but if you care about competition at all. a clean bottle always bumps up the score.

author
fezrock (author)Beergnome2010-08-02

Nice career! I'm still quite the novice, but practice makes better! As to your question, I haven't seen anything like it. Topping the bottle out with CO2 would help the end product, but wouldn't do much for pressure loss. Nitrogen would be similar, but whichever is the heavier gas (not sure) would be marginally better for this lo-tech solution. On a small scale, if a sealed environment could be created to fit your capper around your cap, more gas pressure could be applied. I imagine an upright lever capper would be needed to work that out. Thanks for that idea seed! On a larger scale, if you could cap in a larger chamber, you could set the CO2/N2 pressure in the chamber to whatever you needed it to be. This would also give you space to insert your brew without introducing air. Or just overcarbonate the brew to make up for carbonation loss to outgassing. Crazy idea: add a small amount of dry ice without freezing the brew. (you don't need leftover yeasts anyway!) It sounds like a fun experiment, and could be adjusted to suit your pressure needs.

author
hippie_mama (author)fezrock2010-07-24

I've never even heard of this method, but it sounds completely feasible. Now i know what i want to try next ;)

author
Beergnome (author)2010-08-01

liquid Nitrogen!

About This Instructable

561,453views

62favorites

License:

More by hippie_mama:How To Wash Stuffed AnimalsHow to Freeze BlueberriesMissouri Wildflowers
Add instructable to: