Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Why and How to Freeze Blueberries

Ahh, summer. Full of hazy days, humid nights, and lots and lots of blueberries. Those sweet orbs of azure joy are welcome anytime of year, but especially right now, when they provide a fruitacular (fruitacular?) balm for the grossest weeks of summer.

That's a flowery way of saying that blueberries are currently on major sale at both my supermarket and Costco, going for about $0.16/ounce. That's just about as cheap as they'll get around here, and I want to preserve the bounty for the winter months. (That's when I  crave blueberry pancakes, but have to usually settle for acorn squash pancakes. It's just not the same.)

Fortunately, freezing blueberries for future use is easy as (blueberry) pie, and a heckuva lot cheaper than buying off-season ones come January. All you need to do is follow these simple steps. You'll thank me come Christmas (because surely, there's no one more deserving of expensive gift-like things than a babble-prone, extremely lax blogger you barely know.)

Anyway, let's get to it. 

Step 1: Cut a hole in the box. Buy an Ark-of-the-Covenant-sized carton of blueberries from your local farmer's market, big box store, or preferred fruit venue.

Step 1.5: Get some freezer baggies while you're at it. Honestly, they're nice to have around, regardless. Tom Bosley was right on.

Step 2: Take a picture that you may someday use as a computer background. Make sure it is well-lit and in focus, so people (note: your mom) think(s) you're super awesome.

Step 3: Measure out your desired amount of blueberries. It could be in cup or half-cup increments, or by weight. Whatever you prefer. For my own nefarious purposes, I did eight ounces at a time.

Step 4: Place the blueberries on a small baking sheet. Stick that sheet right in your freezer.

NOTE: Blueberries are weird in that you should generally wait to wash them until right before using 'em. Less mushiness that way.

Step 5: Freeze for a few hours. Overnight is best.

Step 6: While the freezing process is occurring, watch the finale of Friday Night Lights and contemplate your values. Hope that someday you may make Coach Taylor proud.

Step 7: Once berries are frozen through, pour them into a freezer-safe Ziploc baggie. Get as much air out as possible, using a straw or your purty, purty mouth. Then, label that sucker.

NOTE: You do not have to write "Frozen Blueberries," as so brilliantly demonstrated here. Odds are you'll know they're frozen when you remove them from ... wait for it ... yep, the freezer.

And that's pretty much it. The blueberries should keep for a couple of months this way. (If you start seeing major freezer burn or frost buildup, it's probably a pretty good indication they should be used soon.) Try them in smoothies, crisps, or the aforementioned flapjacks. Viva la France!

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