Is there anything more glorious than eating plump, juicy blueberries straight from the bush?
Well… maybe only enjoying a sweet bite of blueberries in the dead of winter! And to enjoy them even when nothing else is growing means you have to preserve them.
But how? Like any food preservation, begin with freshly-picked fruit. Half the adventure is picking and harvesting! If you don't grow your own, find a U-pick farm. Ask them how they manage and grow their crops. Some small farmers may not be certified organic, yet still practice organic farming.
Side note: who else remembers “kerplunk, kerplink, kerplank” from Blueberries for Sal whenever they go blueberry picking? 🙂
Here are 4 ways to preserve blueberries for use throughout the year.
#1 — Freezing
This is super easy!
And I'll let you in on a little secret — I dump my blueberries straight into the bag, then pop them in the freezer. They don't clump together, and I can scoop out single berries for pancakes, waffles, muffins, or munching just fine. Even my 4-year-old pulls them out all by herself.
I do not rinse my berries before freezing since it creates a mushier and tougher-skinned berry. I eat the berry straight when I'm picking it without washing and have never had an issue when freezing them this way. This is also why we pick only organic berries.
#2 — Dehydrating
Blueberries make a wonderful dried berry. They are perfect for granola, trail mix, or as a substitute for raisins in any of your favorite baked goods.
To dehydrate blueberries, poke skin with a needle or put in boiling water for a few minutes until the skin breaks. This is called checking and will allow the blueberry to dehydrate faster.
Lay on dehydrator trays. Dry at 145 degrees Fahrenheit for the first 2 hours, then at 115 degrees Fahrenheit for 3 to 7 days, depending on the size of berry and thickness of skin. When dry, they’ll be like little raisins, but not as gooey.
Wardee's Dehydrating eBook is my dehydrating Bible and I still refer to it often.
#3 — Canning
Canning enables shelf stable food without using water to rehydrate it! This is a blessing in an emergency situation without any water supply.
#4 — Vinegar
Blueberry-infused vinegar makes an excellent salad dressing or marinade for chicken or pork. It's also an easy way to preserve some of your harvest. We make this Blueberry Basil Thyme Vinegar in the summer to enjoy well into the fall and winter. Either can it or store in the fridge.
What's your favorite way to preserve blueberries? Would you add any methods to this list?
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