How Long Do Blueberries Last?

Are you wondering: how long do blueberries last? This is a common question after you’ve picked the small, round fruit from blueberry plants or bought a bag of frozen blueberries from a local market or grocery store.

Blueberries are a “superfood” loaded with various nutrients including Vitamin C and K, Manganese, and antioxidants. However, it’s important to know how long they last whether they’re fresh, refrigerated, or frozen. We can help sort things out for you.

This article will discuss lots of must-know information about how long blueberries last. That includes basic facts about the blue/purple berries, how long they last, and how to make them last longer. This information can benefit you whether you’re making blueberry cheesecake, pie, or cobbler.

What Are Blueberries?

These fruits are produced from blueberry shrubs. The berries have a blue/purple hue. Blueberries are available from spring to early autumn and are used in a wide range of dishes. They can be grown on farms and at homes.

These fruits are produced from blueberry shrubs. The berries have a blue/purple hue. Blueberries are available from spring to early autumn and are used in a wide range of dishes. They can be grown on farms and at homes.

Blueberries can be used in various kinds of foods including:

  • Yogurt
  • Fruit salads
  • Cereals
  • Baked goods (e.g. breads and muffins)
  • Pies
  • Juice
  • Granola
  • Preserves

How to Grow Blueberries

Part of extending the shelf life of blueberries involves taking steps to make sure you’re getting the best fruit possible.

Natural vs. Organic

While blueberries are a “natural” food, this doesn’t mean they’re always organic. The reason is growing organic food doesn’t involve any synthetic chemicals like pesticides and fertilizers. The chemicals could cause side-effects and especially if you have an allergic reaction. Researchers are also still studying the long-term effects of food made with synthetic chemicals.https://myfoodseal.com/how-long-does-fruit-infused-water-last/

Planting

If you want bigger berries and more of them, then it’s recommended to plant 2+ varieties. That’s because blueberries are partly self-fertile. Taking this step can also help to extend the fruits’ harvest season.

Various types of shrubs exist. They include Highbush, Lowbush, Half-High, and Rabbiteye. Make sure to research which options are the best based on factors like your region’s climate. You don’t have to become a horticulturalist, but you should learn the basics.

Harvesting

If you’re growing your own blueberries, then it’s important to harvest them properly. After you plant the shrubs remove flowers that grow during the first 1-2 years. This allows the plant to be established. The bush will reach full production around six years after planting the blueberry shrub.

Wait a few days after the berries turn blue. In order to test if they’re ripe for picking they should easily fall off the plant into your hand.

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How to Buy Blueberries

If you decide to buy the fruits instead of growing them, then it’s critical to know what to look for. The fresher the berries are when you buy them, the longer, they’ll last. Here are some guidelines:

Shake the Container

In the case that the round berries don’t move, this could be due to some of them being crushed or moldy.

Avoid Washing before Storing

This is true whether you’re using a fridge or freezer. You should definitely take this step before eating them, but if you do it too early it can have negative effects including on the skin.

Look for Deep Blue Color

This might seem like a case of stating the obvious. However, it’s critical to remember that these fruits don’t ripen after they’re picked. So, if you wait for green berries to turn blue then you’ll be waiting quite a long time.

Don’t Store in Closed Bag/Container

Make sure to avoid putting picked berries in a closed bag or container. It’s important to avoid moisture forming in the container/bag. The way to do that is to leave the container open a little.

Watch out for Additives

When picking products like juices and jams you can still get some plant-based polyphenols in the products. However, keep in mind these products are processed so they have less nutritional value than real blueberries.

Another key issue is these products are also often loaded with refined sugar. That can offset the nutritional value of the small fruits. Always check the labels of products you’re thinking about buying to make sure you know exactly what you’re getting.

Don’t Refrigerate Automatically​​​​​

If you’re going to eat the blue berries within 1-2 days, then it’s safe to keep the fruit at room temperature. There won’t be any problems.

If you want to have blueberries 6-12 months from now, then consider freezing them. This is especially wise If your region has cold winters with freezing temperatures.

Purchase Wild Blueberries

The main reason is they’re higher in plant-based nutrients called phytonutrients. If you can’t afford wild varieties then you’ll still be getting healthy food from other blueberries.

Consider Dried/Frozen Berries

These aren’t as good as fresh blueberries, but these other varieties let you enjoy the tasty fruit year-round. You can still get some key benefits. Frozen berries are cheaper, and both the dried and frozen varieties are chock-full of polyphenols.

How Long Do Blueberries Last?

This is a loaded question and it’s based on various factors. One key factor to consider is blueberries don’t have a “use by” or “best before” date. When buying packaged blueberries look for the date they were picked on. This can serve as a reference to determine when you should consume them by.

Here’s how long the round fruits last based on the temperature they’re stored at:

Room Temperature

In most cases, you shouldn’t store blueberries at room temperature since they’re highly perishable. In fact, they’ll only last a maximum of 2-3 days when stored on your kitchen counter, for example.

Fun Fact: Blueberries don’t ripen after they’re picked. This highlights the importance not only to pick the fruits when they’re ripe. You also shouldn’t pick them early then hope they’ll ripen by storing them at room temperature.

When can you store the blueberries at room temperature? You should only do that if you plan to eat the round berries on that day.

Refrigerator

When stored properly blueberries can stay fresh when refrigerated for 1-2 weeks. The operative word, in this case, is “properly.” One option is to keep the fresh fruit in its clamshell container. Another option is to put them in a shallow container then use plastic wrap to cover the fruit.

First, remove the stems and leaves in order to boost the fruit’s shelf life. You should also remove any fruit that’s soft, broken, and moldy.

Here are the steps for refrigerating the berries effectively:

Step 1: Use a clean container

Some good options are a basket-like container with small holes/slits or ceramic bowl. Don’t use metal containers since contact with them can result in the fruit becoming discolored/stained.

Step 2: Add a paper towel to the container

This will help to absorb moisture and prevent mold from forming. Next, add the unwashed berries to the container. Don’t’ wash the fruit until you’re ready to eat/cook them to make sure they’re free of dirt and residue.

Step 3: Avoid storing in crisper or cold areas

There are some major issues in these areas. The crisper doesn’t provide enough circulation and is too humid.Meanwhile, the tasty berries could get damaged in the fridge’s coldest areas. Make sure not to put them at the top part of the refrigerator since it’s the coldest area and especially if there’s a freezer there. A better option is the middle or bottom portion of the fridge. Let them cool to room temperaturethen use air-tight containers to store the blueberries

Freezer

The main benefit of frozen blueberries is they can last for 6-12 months. This allows you to enjoy blueberry pancakes, bread, or smoothies in the middle of winter.

You could purchase frozen berries or freeze them yourself. Here’s how to do the latter:

Step 1: Prepare the berries

Remove the stems, leaves, and moldy/damaged berries. You should first freeze them on a single-layer tray to prevent sticking/clumping. Make sure to put parchment paper on a metal tray in order to protect the fruit.

Step 2: Put tray in freezer

It will only take 2-3 hours for the small fruit to freeze completely.

Step 3: Transfer fruit to a storage container

Take the tray from the freezer then transfer the blueberries to a Ziploc-like bag or resealable bag. Then put the blueberries back in the freezer.Here’s how long the round fruits last based on the temperature they’re stored at:

Drying

In addition to storing blueberries at room temperature or in refrigerators/freezers, you can also dry the fruits to preserve them. This is done in an oven or dehydrator.

You can use dried blueberries in different ways. They include healthy snacks, granola bars, or salad toppings.

After you’re done drying the blueberries, you can store them in a jar or plastic bag in an area that’s cool and dark. These berries can last for up to one year—as long as frozen blueberries!

Here are the steps for drying blueberries in an oven:

Step 1: Boil the blueberries

This is the first step before drying them in the oven. Add a vegetable steamer insert to a medium pot then add water to fill the steamer basket halfway. After the water is boiling add blueberries and let them boil for 30-60 seconds.

Step 2 Cool the berries

Remove the steamer basket and run cold water over the berries. This will cool them down while stopping the cooking process.

This pre-baking step might seem odd. It’s needed to boost air penetration and crack the berries’ outer skin

Step 3: Let the berries dry

Before you bake them to put them on paper towels, then let them dry for 10-20 minutes.

Step 4: Transfer berries to baking sheets

Next, transfer the fruit to baking sheets. Make sure to form a single layer and only add 1-2 pounds of blueberries on each baking tray.

Step 5: Add trays to oven

Tweak your oven racks so each tray has a 1-inch space between them. Preheat your oven to 140-degrees Fahrenheit.Leave the oven door open slightly. This should be 1-2 inches for gas ovens and 4-6 inches for electric ovens.

Step 6: Cook blueberries for 4-6 hours

Make sure to rotate the baking sheets and use a spatula to stir the berries every half hour.

Step 7: Remove the berries from oven

After they’re dried transfer the fruits to cooling racks. Let them cool to room temperature, then use air-tight containers to store the blueberries.

How to Make Blueberries Last Longer

When storing blueberries at different temperatures here are some tips to make them last longer:

Hot-water Bath

This involves a 30-second bath in 140-degree water for blueberries. The goal is to kill bacteria so fewer berries go bad.

White Vinegar

Step 1: Put the berries in a vinegar/water bath

Gently move the berries in the bath so all dirt and grime are removed. This lets the white vinegar kill the bacteria and spores

Step 2: Drain the berries in a colander

Step 3: Rinse the fruit in clean water

This removes all vinegar flavor so your blueberries don’t taste sour.

Step 4: Use a salad spinner to dry the blueberries

Step 5: Store washed/dried fruit in a sealed container

Make sure to seal the container w/ paper towels. If the container is air-tight then leave the lid a little open for some moisture to build up.

Step 6: Wash original store containers

Wash them before you reuse them and add a paper towel liner.

Produce Cleaner

Commercial cleaners like EatCleaner can clean fresh berries and boost their life in the refrigerator. The product can be used for various types of fruit including berries and apples. As a result, it adds value so you won’t have to purchase different products for different kinds of fruit

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Tips and Tricks for Storing Blueberries

Rinse When Necessary

It might seem logical to rinse the berries as soon as you buy them. This is a big mistake. Make sure to delay that step until you’re ready to eat the berries.

What if you don’t want to rinse each handful of berries you’re going to eat? You could rinse a batch in a colander under cool water. The key is to take some basic steps afterwards.

What should you do? After rinsing the berries place them on a tray lined with a paper towel. Roll the berries around until they’re totally dry. Next, transfer the fruit to a breathable container like the original one. The paper towel will soak up extra water, and the container’s holes will prevent mold.

Freeze Overripe Blueberries

First, spread the berries atop a rimmed baking sheet. Then put them in the freezer so they can get firm in a couple of hours. Next, move the berries to a Ziploc-type bag and put them back in the freezer. The berries will keep for a couple of months in the freezer.Another option is to put them in a shallow container then use plastic wrap to cover the fruit

Check for Mold Immediately

As soon as you buy blueberries make sure to sift through them and look for moldy pieces. These are often inside the container.

Remember the old saying that “One bad apple spoils the bunch.” It’s also true for berries. If you spot one blueberry that looks fuzzy or dried up remove it quickly. That’s because the mold can spread to other pieces it contacts.

The problem is if you don’t store the fruit properly mold can become an issue. In fact, it could damage the entire container, so it’s critical to remove moldy pieces as soon as possible.

Conclusion

Now you have all the need-to-know information about how long blueberries. You also know how to store them properly and make them last longer using tips and tricks. These berries can be a fantastic fruit in food like breads, scones, and even plain as a snack. They don’t last forever but if you take the right steps you can have blueberry pie in July or December!

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