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
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
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
- 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.
Step 5: Consume Berries
Some easy things to do with your berries:
- Yogurt (plain or any flavor; i used strawberry)
- 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
Or just tie a ribbon around a full jar and give it to a friend.