Blueberries are known as 'super fruits', as they are rich in antioxidants. They are touted for scores of different health benefits. These fruits are great in pancakes, cookies, cakes, puddings, pies, etc. However, since this fruit is seasonal, the availability can be a problem. Blueberries can be enjoyed all through the year, if they are frozen. Frozen blueberries are the solution to year-long supply of blueberries. You can take advantage of the time when they are available in plenty and store them for later use. However, you need to keep a few pointers in mind, before freezing them.
Select the 'Right' Blueberries
Selecting the right blueberries is an important step when you're thinking about freezing them. If there's a farm nearby, pick berries that are firm and not mushy. Choose the ones which are plump and have good color. If you're purchasing it from a supermarket, again make sure your berries aren't mushy.
Washing and Drying
Once you've bought the berries and picked out the firm ones, it's time to wash them. Gently wash the blueberries, all the while making sure the berries don't get squished. To drain them completely, place the berries in a large sieve, colander, or on a large piece of cotton cloth. Once drained, leave the berries to dry. The berries need to dry completely. Some methods may omit this washing step, however, when the blueberries have thawed, it's not easy to wash them. Thus, it's better to wash them right in the beginning.
Packing them in Containers
The next step is to place the blueberries into a container. Spread them in the container in a single layer. This will make sure the berries do not stick to one another, thereby preventing the irksome blueberry lump formation. Using freezer bags to freeze blueberries, can cause the berries to stick to one another, which is why it's best to store them in containers.
After you have placed the berries in the container, close the container with a tight lid, and place it in the coldest part of the freezer. This is the first part of freezing. The berries that have been lined in a single layer, freeze completely, and later when they are transferred to a vacuum seal bag, they won't stick to each other. Leave the berries in the freezer overnight, or even an entire day.
Sealing in Vacuum Seal Bags
After the berries are frozen, remove them from the container or the tray and place them in a vacuum seal bag. Remove all the air from the bag. Vacuum sealing will ensure that the blueberries are stored properly in the freezer and do not go bad. Place the vacuum sealed bags in the coldest part of the freezer, so that temperature fluctuations don't spoil your blueberries.
When you want to use the blueberries, remove them from the freezer and thaw them completely either in the refrigerator or on the counter. After they've thawed, wash them with plain water. Discard the ones that have become mushy. If you're freezing blueberries for the first time, it's better to start with small amounts, and then take up bigger projects as you've mastered this art of freezing.