Blueberry Harvest! (and storage)

2 Aug

This weekend marked a chance to get out of town and head to nearby Michigan.  It’s an entirely different vision of the Lake – endless dunes, clear waters (up at Sleeping Bear State Park anyway), and much much more including a network of agri-tourism sites where you can pick-your-own berries.  Fully indulging, I loaded up with 6 1/2 pounds of blueberries! Now I need to freeze them so I don’t eat them all before winter comes…or in the next couple days.

After perusing the net for blueberry freezing techniques, I came back to Cooks Illustrated, a solid source for all the kitchen experimentation and a broad range of food-related subject matter.  For our purposes, we found this berry-freezing guide here. The breakdown:

1) Lightly rinse and dry blueberries. (Indeed, some sources recommend not rinsing, but these recipes do not include the following step.)

2) Mix blueberries with sugar. Sugar helps keep the fruit firm, flavorful, and stave off unwanted odors – sugar retards solubility. For about 8 cups of blueberries I used 1 cup of sugar. The CI recipe describes adding a syrup or raw sugar.

3) Transfer blueberries to freezer bags. Be sure to set them flat, allow breathing room and not pack them in. This allows sections of frozen berries to be easily broken off and to store the berries in proportion to different recipes. I used gallon bags which store about 4 cups each.

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The blueberry harvest is ending soon so find a way out there if you can!

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