Blueberries are one of my go-to fruits because they are flavorful and contain a lot of nutrients. These flavorful are harvested from blueberry shrubs. They are dark blue in color with a purple hue.
Blueberries can be eaten as fruits or used in various recipes. They are a great addition to fruit salads, yogurt, cereals, baked goods, and granola among others.
Like every other fruit, blueberries can go bad. Their shelf life depends on a lot of factors, including how you store them.
If the blueberries are freshly harvested, they can last in the fridge for 1-2 weeks. If you store them at room temperature, they will only last for 2-3 days. If you use blueberries in your cooking, the dish can last for 4-5 days. Pickled blueberries can last for three weeks and the frozen ones for up to a year
This article is all about the shelf life of blueberries. If you have been wondering how long blueberries last or how to properly store them, you just hit the jackpot. I will share with you all the tricks and tips to improve your ‘blueberry experience’.
How to pick the best Blueberries
If you are buying blueberries, it is important that you choose the freshest ones possible. This way, the blueberries will last for much longer. How do you pick the best berries? How do you know which ones are fresh?
If the blueberries are in a container, shake the container. If the berries are fresh, they should move around the container freely. If they don’t, some are probably crushed which is an indication that they are not fresh.
Fresh blueberries should have a deep blue color. Whereas this may seem like an obvious thing, it is important to note that blueberries do not continue to ripen once they are harvested. Avoid picking the red blueberries because no matter how long you wait, the berries will never turn blue.
Always choose the blueberries that have no leaves or stems. They should have smooth skin and be dark blue in color with a purple hue.
The shelf life of Blueberries
At room temperature
As I mentioned earlier, you should only store blueberries at room temperature if you intend to eat them within a day or two. It does not matter if the berries are freshly harvested or are the freshest blueberries in the market. After the third day, they will no longer be fresh.
I do not recommend storing blueberries at room temperature because they are very delicate. I always store mine in the refrigerator even when I am planning to eat them the very next day.
All in all, if you have to store them at room temperature, the kitchen counter will work just fine. Always remember that blueberries do not continue ripening once they are picked. Storing them on the kitchen counter does not in any way fasten the ripening process.
In the refrigerator
If you want your blueberries to last for a week or more, the refrigerator is your best bet. When you store them in the fridge, they will stay fresh for up two weeks.
You need to place the blueberries in a container that has slits or small holes before storing them in the refrigerator.
In the freezer
Frozen blueberries can stay fresh for up to one year. The key is freezing them properly. If you do not freeze them properly they may not last for one year.
We all know that blueberries can be used in many amazing recipes. They are used as a baking ingredient, in pancakes and even smoothies. Other than adding an amazing flavor to dishes, blueberries also provide healing properties.
The shelf life of cooked blueberries varies depending on the recipe you used. However, most dishes will stay fresh for approximately five days.
How to properly store blueberries.
In the refrigerator
The most important thing you should know about storing blueberries is that they should not be washed before storage.
Moisture is the primary risk for blueberries. They should remain as dry as possible until you are ready to eat them. If the blueberries are stored while wet, they are susceptible to mold and rot.
The first thing you should do when you buy the blueberries is to remove any stems or leaves. I insist on this because most of the ones in the market usually have small stems or leaves. While at it, you should also discard the crushed berries. You should not store them together with the good ones.
The second thing you should do is use a clean container. You can use a ceramic bowl or a plastic container that has slits. I do not recommend storing them in a metallic container because you will end up with discolored blueberries. No one would want to eat blueberries that are not actually blue.
Before storing the blueberries in the container, you should line it with a paper towel. The paper towel will absorb any moisture that gets into the container and consequently prevent the formation of molds. Once you line the container with a paper towel, place the berries inside it and close it.
It is important that you do not store the blueberries in the crisp and cold areas of the fridge. This is because there is barely enough circulation in these areas and there is too much humidity as well.
Remember, berries and moisture do not coexist. I suggest storing the blueberries at the bottom or middle part of the fridge. Do not store them at the top part because it is the coldest area of the fridge.
In the freezer
Frozen blueberries can last for a really long time. You just have to follow the right procedure when freezing them. Follow these steps if you want to freeze them properly.
First, you should prepare the berries. You should do this by removing the leaves and stems. You should also get rid of any crushed berries or the ones that look moldy.
The second thing you should do is line a tray with parchment paper. Line the berries in a single layer on the tray. Do not crowd the tray because if you do, the berries will clump or stick together when you freeze them.
Place the tray of berries in the freezer for 3 hours. The blueberries will completely freeze individually in only 3 hours. After 3 hours elapse, remove the blueberries from the freezer and transfer them to a freezer bag. Place the freezer bag in the freezer. Your blueberries will last for 6 to 12 months.
How to thaw frozen blueberries
Thawing frozen blueberries are pretty straight-forward. The best way to do it is by thawing them in the refrigerator overnight. Just remove the blueberries from the freezer and place them in the fridge.
Alternatively, you can place the frozen blueberries in a cold water bath. This way, the frozen blueberries will thaw in a short time.
I do not recommend thawing blueberries in the microwave because the blueberries will become mushy.
Signs that your blueberries have gone bad
As mentioned before, blueberries do not ripen with time. They just go bad. Here are a few signs that your blueberries have gone bad.
- Soft and damaged skin
With time the skin of blueberries becomes soft. If you notice that the skin of your blueberries is extremely soft and also damaged, they have gone bad and you should discard them. Blueberries should feel firm when you touch them, not soft.
The presence of mold is usually the first indication that your blueberries are no longer safe to eat. If you see grey or white mold on the skin of your blueberries, they have gone bad and you should throw them out.
- Change in color
Fresh blueberries should have that deep blue. If yours are dark red in color or deep purple in color, they have gone bad. Just throw them out because they cannot be salvaged.
- Wilted or shriveled blueberries
The general appearance of blueberries can tell you whether or not they are spoilt. If they appear wilted or shriveled, they are spoilt. You should just throw them out.
- Weird smell
Fresh blueberries usually have a pleasant fruity smell. If you smell them and the aroma is unpleasant, they have definitely gone bad and should be discarded.
Blueberries are amazing, mostly because they are very versatile. Unlike other fruits, they should not be washed. They should be kept as dry as possible until you are ready to eat or use them in a recipe.
If you have bought blueberries and intend to them the same day or the next day, you can store them on your kitchen counter.
If not, store them in the refrigerator. In case you want a longtime solution, just freeze them. Remember to follow all the necessary steps while freezing blueberries if you want them to last for a year.
Always look for signs of spoilage or freezer burn before consuming the blueberries you stored in your refrigerator or freezer.