Choosing Blueberries

Blueberries are quite perishable. To have firm ripe fresh berries that keep for about a week, select with care. If possible, go to the farms where blueberries are grown and pick or purchase your berries directly from the grower. Consider purchasing in large quantities and then freezing the berries for use in a variety of recipes all year round.

Blueberries should be plump and firm with a dark blue color and a powdery gray-blue "bloom". This is a natural wax on the surface of the blueberry skin which helps reduce moisture loss after harvest. Blueberries should be fully ripe but not overripe or green. Blueberries will not ripen further after harvest so what you pick or purchase is the best you will get.

When purchasing berries at the grocery store avoid buying berries with a dull appearance or those that are overly soft, moldy, or wet. Berries sold in closed pint containers may not be easy to assess. Look to avoid containers that seem to be wet on the bottom or those that show signs of blue discoloration.

Handling Blueberries

Try to handle blueberries as gently as possible to minimize or avoid bruising. Bruising can shorten the life of the berries and reduce quality.

For the highest quality berries you might want to sort the berries before storage to remove overly soft or unripe fruit. Berries purchased directly from a farmer's market or the field may also need to have unwanted leaves or stems removed.

Carefully spread the berries on a baking sheet or paper towels. This makes it easier to see what needs to be removed. Then return the berries to the original container or store loosely in another shallow covered container. Berries are best kept in a cool moist area of the refrigerator, such as the hydrator or crisper. Do not choose tall containers for refrigerator storage to avoid having the weight of the top berries crush those below.

Blueberries will keep best if NOT washed before REFRIGERATING. Added moisture will hasten the growth of mold on berries stored in the refrigerator.

The choice for handling berries to be frozen is a little more difficult. You might see recommendations to not wash the berries before freezing. The concern is that berries washed and then frozen while still wet will develop a tougher skin. Although that might be true, I have learned there are advantages to having the berries ready to cook or bake right from the freezer. Thus, I recommend washing and air-drying the berries before freezing.

For more info about blueberries visit this site Blueberry Muffin Recipe.

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