Cleaning and Storing Blueberries

Introduction

After harvest inspect the blueberries to remove any stems and leaves and prepare to eat fresh, store them for a short time in the refrigerator or store them by freezing them or drying them.

Fresh Blueberries

Blueberries should be cleaned by removing stems and leaves and cooled as soon as possible after they are picked so they do not begin to deteriorate. You can store your berries in the refrigerator for up to six days. Some varieties have an exceptionally long shelf live in a refrigerator. These include Ozarkblue, Nelson, Brigitta and Legacy. Nelson, Brigitta and Legacy store exceptionally well, lasting up to five or six weeks in a refrigerator while still retaining their quality. From a marketing standpoint these are varieties that would do well if you market your blueberries locally. These are the varieties of blueberry plants you may consider growing if you are interested in keeping quality in the refrigerator for more than a week after picking. Washing the blueberries will remove the natural wax on the berries which helps keep them fresh, so washing should not be done until just before eating.

Freezing Blueberries

Blueberries can be stored in a freezer at about 10 degrees F for up to one year. Berries stored below 10 degrees F will last up to a number of months longer.

Before freezing remove any loose leaves and stems. Lay blueberries in a single layer on a cookie sheet on a paper towel. When placed on a cookie sheet, make sure they do not touch, then place in a freezer for 24 hours. After 24 hours, remove the berries from the sheet and place together in sealed containers. A Ziploc bag for freezing works well. Blueberries keep best in a deep freeze, as opposed to a higher temperature refrigerator freezer. After you remove them from the freezer wash your blueberries before eating, if desired. When you use the frozen blueberries you can just scoop out the amount you what to use at the time and leave the other blueberries in the container in the freezer. Use the above freezing process for all blueberries.

Dehydrating blueberries

Blueberries may also be preserved by drying them in your home dehydrator.

To dehydrateberries put them in a dehydrator. You want to use them you can put dehydrated blueberries in a little water and warm them in the microwave to soften them for cooking in pastries.

Summary

Blueberries can be grown or purchased in the summer when prices are lower and be stored for year around use. Frozen blueberries have the same amount of healthy antioxidants as fresh blueberries. Grow enough blueberries for fresh use and enough to freeze and store for year around use.



Source by Harold Stewart

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