I almost don’t even want to write this. I mean, freezing blueberries is totally a no-brainer, right?
Well, maybe for a lot of people, it is. But I can remember a time in my life when I was so helpless in the kitchen, that even something as simple as freezing blueberries was intimidating!
I used to be scared to try things in the kitchen for fear that, in my ignorance, I’d skip some vital, minute step and screw the whole thing up.
FPIES and food allergy cooking knocked me out of that mindset completely, but I’m sure there are other people out there still frozen in that same worry.
One of the reasons I used to be afraid in the kitchen is that so often instructions (whether given in person or read somewhere) are incredibly detailed and specific; so authoritative that you get the distinct impression that if you don’t do exactly what you’re told, the recipe will be ruined beyond redemption.
Then other instructions for the same thing will be so lacking in detail that you’re sure you don’t have enough information to do it properly!
It’s enough to give a girl a complex, I can tell you.
Because of that, and my own experiences with kitchen fear, I’ve always tried to strike a balance in the recipes I share.
I try to give as many tips and detail as possible, while also keeping the attitude light and “you can do this”!
That applies to complicated things, and also for simple things, like freezing blueberries.
Because even with freezing blueberries, there is a disturbing amount of authoritative instructing out there.
So to freeze blueberries, you have to start with fresh berries. Find a you-pick-it place or buy local berries at your farmers market. (Or grow them yourself, if you’re so inclined.)
Get the berries home and do a quick sift through them, gently running your fingers through the berries feeling for stems, leaves, and any soft, mushy berries.
Discard all those rejects.
Now, I’ve read that it’s best to freeze blueberries in a single layer on a cookie sheet.
That’s a good idea, and it would be lovely to do that.
But I was trying to freeze ten gallons of blueberries at once, and I just don’t have enough flat surfaces in my freezers – or enough cookie sheets – to handle that technique for that many berries!
So if you’re only trying to freeze a small amount of blueberries, by all means, grab a cookie sheet, line it with parchment paper, and lay those berries out in a nice, single, even layer.
If you’ve just got too many berries, though, don’t be afraid to ignore conventional wisdom.
Grab a pan of some sort, line it with parchment paper, and dump all those berries in.
Put your pan or cookie sheet with blueberries in the freezer for at least a few hours. I tossed mine in overnight.
When they’re nicely frozen, grab them out of the freezer and get ready to package them up.
A FoodSaver type vacuum sealer works beautifully for this, but if you don’t have one, almost any method will work. You can dump those berries in mason jars, Ziploc bags, or tupperware containers. Just keep in mind the essentials of long term food storage: you want as little air as possible in your frozen stuff to help stave off freezer burn and to keep the food as fresh tasting as possible.
Grab the edge of the parchment paper and gently lift it up. This helps to knock the clump of frozen berries loose.
You’ll see that even though the berries were frozen in a big lump, they easily and instantly pop off into individual frozen berries!
Now just dump those blueberries into whatever storage container you’ve decided to use, and put them back in the freezer.
I made 3 cup bags of berries for my storage purposes.
It didn’t take long for there to be enough bags I needed a box to carry them to the freezer!
And it’s really as simple as that.
You don’t need to wash the berries first. When you’re ready to use the frozen blueberries, dump the ones you want to use in a strainer and run cool water over them.
You will wash the berries as you thaw them, making less work – and that’s always a good thing, right?
Have you ever experienced kitchen fear? What helped you get over it?