Blueberries: How to Pick, Cook and Bake
"Should I wash blueberries before I freeze them?"
Find answers to all your blueberry questions.
Blueberries couldn’t be a more effortless fruit. There’s no peeling, coring or cutting — just pick and enjoy! This native North American fruit has been prized for centuries.
There are two types of blueberries:
- Highbush, or cultivated, blueberries are grown for primarily commercial use.
- Lowbush, or wild, blueberries occur naturally and grow in carpetlike vines in northern areas.
When you’re picking blueberries, make sure they are plump and firm and are a frosted indigo color. Blueberries do not ripen after picking, so avoid picking berries that aren’t fully ripened.
Blueberries are in peak season from late May to mid-August. One pint of blueberries is equal to 2 cups. Cover berries and store in the refrigerator after purchasing or picking. They will keep up to 10 days. Wash just before using.
Freezing bluberries is easy. Do not wash blueberries before freezing. The waxy coating protects them when frozen.
Spread berries on a cookie sheet or in a baking pan, and freeze until berries are frozen. Transfer them to a freezer container or a plastic freezer bag. If you’re planning to use frozen blueberries in baked goods, the color may bleed into the batter. To prevent this, be sure the berries are frozen solid and stir them into the batter just before baking.
Blueberries and Nutrition
Don’t let their small size fool you! Blueberries are a superfood with high nutritional value.
- Blueberries are sometimes referred to as “brain berries” or brain food, because they are a top source of antioxidant phytonutrients. Early research suggests that regular consumption of phytonutrients may support healthy brain function.
- Blueberries contain antioxidants called anthocyanins, which are thought to prevent harmful cell damage and reduce “free-radicals” in the body. These may help slow the aging process.
- Blueberries are a good source of Vitamin C, as well as potassium, magnesium and fiber.
- Blueberries are lower in calories than many fruits and have zero fat.