Preserving Blueberries

My first suggestion is don’t fill the bucket too full because the berries on the bottom can be “squished”. Fill the bucket about 2/3 full and bring it back to the barn and I will give you another bucket and put your blueberries in a safe place. It is dangerous to sit a bucket of berries on the ground out in the orchard. Too often ants get into the bucket or people trip over a bucket while they are focusing on their picking. DON’T let children run with a bucket of blueberries. That is a recipe for disaster!

Blueberries will keep and freeze the best if their skins are nice and dry. I will always have plastic bags to take your blueberries home, but bags are not the best way to keep your berries whole and dry. If your berries are going into a pie or turnover, you don’t need to worry about a little squishing. If you want to freeze them, it is important to bring a container that will give the berries room to breathe and dry. In general, you don’t want to pack the berries more than four inched deep. A basket or cardboard box lets the berries dry best. They can be lined with paper towels. Large, flat plastic or metal containers are also good. It can be very difficult to pour berries out of a bucket into a small container. Don’t mix blackberries with blueberries as the blackberries will surely squish.

Buffy’s blueberries DO NOT need to be washed. There are no poisonous insecticides or fertilizers used on the bushes. If you want to wash the berries it is better to wash them right before you use them rather than before you store them. Blueberries last a long time just in the fridge, especially if the skins are dry. They may shrivel a little, but that actually improves the taste. Blueberries can be dried in the sun or in a dehydrator. I think blueberry raisons are tastier than grape raisons, but I might be a little biased.

Some people freeze their berries on a flat tray then transfer them to a storage container. This step is not really necessary if the berries are dry. Small bags are good for freezing berries and once the berries are frozen you can stack them as high as you want.

It is not necessary to defrost the berries to enjoy eating them alone, in cereal or in most recipes. The important thing is to eat lots of blueberries since they are so good for you.