One of the best ways to save money on whole foods is to buy them in bulk when you can get good savings, and store them for the future. I've written about How to Store Nuts and Seeds, The Easiest Way to Preserve Herbs, The Easiest Way to Freeze Tomatoes, How to Store Prepared Beans, and How to Store Leafy Greens, but today I'm sharing how to store one of our favorite foods--how to freeze blueberries.
I guess this post could also be called "How to Freeze Berries Without Having Them End Up in One Big Clump!"
or "The Easiest Way to Preserve Blueberries." Because I've tried other ways and this is just well--simply the easiest.
We love blueberries. And though we are all on sugar-free and even high sugar fruit-free diets due to candida, blueberries are fairly low in sugar and so this year we decided we just had to go picking.
We live in Michigan, one of the great states to live in if you like blueberries and we even have a large wild raspberry bush in our backyard. Well, it really is in our neighbor's yard but it cascades into ours and it's a house that gets rented out to students and the owner is fine with us claiming the berries as our own.
We are all too happy to oblige :-).
Over the past 5 years or so we have made it a tradition to go to a U-pick farm and pick
too many a lot of blueberries. And sometimes raspberries, but they don't transport as well.
There is a great organic blueberry farm that has the most delectable berries, but this year, the crazy weather made it so that they weren't offering the U-pick option. So we had to go to our old standby--a farm that isn't organic but at least doesn't spray.
In years past, this farm had recordings of birds to scare other birds away, but this year, as we were driving up to the farm, we saw two huge birds fly away. I suspect that they were falcons, seeing as this seems to be a new technique that berry farmers use to scare smaller birds away from their crops. Interesting, huh?
Anyway, we had limited time this year due to a ton of rain and a busy schedule, but in 1.5 hours of picking time, we managed to pick about 17 pounds of berries. (And we ate a few as well :-).)
So--now it's time to do something with 'dem berries. And though I'd love the thought of dehydrating them in my faithful preservation companion, the Excalibur Dehydrator (click here for the best savings on an Excalibur), I didn't have great luck with dehydrating cranberries, and really prefer how nicely berries freeze.
That is, if you freeze berries the right way.
Put them all in a bag and freeze them and you might end up with a big chunk of berry mush that you'll need a jack hammer to break apart.
How to use frozen blueberries (and other berries):
- My Dairy Free Berry Mousse
- Baked in to Baked Oatmeal / Oatmeal Cake
- On top of Ice Cream (like my Homemade Coconut Milk Ice Cream)
- Blended into a Smoothie. Use whatever milk or dairy free alternative you like (like Homemade Almond Milk or Homemade Coconut Milk), add frozen fruits, nuts or seeds and sweetener and you have a wonderful pick me up healthy treat or breakfast! Add protein powder or some of this healthy gelatin (I love Great Lakes Brand--no antibiotics / no hormones and pasture-fed) for added protein.
More Ways to Preserve Your Garden, U-Pick, or CSA Harvest:
Here's how to freeze berries and how to store berries once they are frozen.
How to Freeze Blueberries
1. Wash blueberries and drain.
2. Dry berries gently with a towel (not necessary, but makes the blueberries completely ice free).
2. Place blueberries in a single layer on a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan.
3. Place in freezer until frozen, about 7 hours, or overnight.
4. Transfer berries to a sturdy plastic bag. Squeeze most of the air out and store in freezer. Those Twixit Clips that you see on the bag below are one of my most favorite kitchen tools. I use them for all my plastic bag storage needs.
5. Frozen berries are best used within 6 months, but we've eaten some out of our deep freeze after a lot longer time than that! (Freezer tip: If you store food that you won't be using for a long time in a manual defrost freezer, they will last longer. More on that in another post sometime :-).)
Have you ever frozen blueberries? What's your favorite way to eat them?