Preserving Blueberries for the Whole Year

Freezing Blueberries

If you’ve tried growing blueberries in your garden you know they’re a little persnickety. They need acidic soil to really produce (my pH is 7.7 currently!) and birds will come from miles around to snack on this garden grown delicacy. It’ll be a Mother Nature miracle if there’s any left over for your morning granola.

The blueberry plants I planted a few years ago just sat there in the garden bed and sulked. Eventually I got frustrated and ripped them out. I have limited garden space and not much patience for things that don’t perform.

But, I eat a lot of smoothies and blueberries are one of my favorite ingredients. I was buying big bags of blueberries from my local food co-op, but it was bothering me that all of the blueberries I was eating were from Maine when I live in Wisconsin.

Luckily, when I had my food preserving epiphany a few years ago I realized I don’t have to grow everything I preserve. (Duh!) So, I set a goal of attempting to preserve all of the blueberries I would need for a year’s worth of smoothies. I searched for a local u-pick farm, calculated how many pounds of blueberries I might need (35!), and set that as my target for picking.

Here’s what happened…

PRESERVING BLUEBERRIES FOR THE WHOLE YEAR

Preserving Blueberries

I’ve never actually went to a u-pick for blueberries before so wasn’t sure how quickly it would go. The blueberry bushes were loaded with fruit so it went pretty fast. But, blueberries are small and don’t weigh a lot so it takes quite the volume to get to a significant weight.

I stayed until the workers called out that the field was closed for the evening. I knew I was nowhere near 35 lbs. (Note to self for next year: Invite non-blueberry loving friends to pick with me!) They weighed my buckets as they checked me out and the grand total was just under 17 lbs. Half way to my goal…I was satisfied with that!

Easy Blueberry Freezing

The scene: a beautiful farm!

When I got them home I rinsed them, dried them off, and spread them onto cookie sheets in a single layer. I stacked the cookie sheets in my freezer overnight and in the morning I transferred the berries into ziploc bags and moved them into my chest freezer for storage. Quick and easy!

Tasty and local winter smoothies – check!

preserving blueberries

The moral of this story is not that I eat A LOT of blueberries. It’s that you don’t have to grow everything you preserve. The name of the game is Super Easy Food Preserving. That includes the growing part. If it’s too difficult to grow, or you don’t have room for it, then you can leave the job of growing it to someone else.

With an enjoyable trip to the u-pick farm you can end up with a year’s worth of one of your favorite foods. Pause for a few moments to think about what foods you would love to put away for out of season eating. If they aren’t growing in your garden then make a plant to go out there and get them! You won’t regret it.

Last night kneeling beneath a bush dripping with blueberries, the summer breeze carrying the jovial conversations of the groups of families and friends picking around me, I thought to myself…”There is no better way to spend a July evening than this.” Preserving blueberries from the u-pick, proved to be a lot more fun than growing them myself!

 

Easy Food Preserving Book

Eat food from you garden all year round!

You can make every harvest last longer by learning how to quickly and easily preserve vegetables at the height of their season. And if you think canning is the only option, my book, Super Easy Food Preserving, teaches you how easy it can be to use your basement, fridge and freezer instead. Read more about it here.

 

More food preserving reading:

Easiest Way to Preserve Tomatoes

5 Easy Ways to Preserve Food Without Canning

An Easy Way to Freeze Kale

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Comments

  • I love your sense of humor and your writing is always so eloquent! Are you sure you don’t eat too many blueberries? Some day you should come to Montana and pick some hucks!

    • I might eat too many blueberries! I can’t help myself. I’ve never had a huckleberry. I’d love to try one!

  • My garden is going well. If i had known about this class i would have joined. It just so happened i joined just 2 days after your class started and was not advised of this. I am rather disappointed i need to wait till another year. All looks good.

  • Where is this Pick your own blueberry place?

  • I’ve been freezing blueberries for years. I have gone to blueberries u-pic farms, and they are a great fun, but unfortunately, I live in CA, and there are no farms near me. I just buy a lot from the local supermarket when they go on sale ($2 for 18oz). I don’t wash them first as I found that keeping them completely dry was the key. Maybe, as you suggest, freezing the wash& dried berries on cookie sheets might solve this problem.

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