Do you know how easy it is to freeze fresh blueberries? One of the best ways to enjoy summer’s harvest year-round is to freeze blueberries when they’re in season! This guide explains how to freeze blueberries, plus it answers the most commonly asked questions about thawing frozen blueberries and using them in recipes.
Is it Okay to Freeze Blueberries?
Sweet and juicy blueberries are one of the many fruits I look forward to enjoying each summer. Unfortunately, fresh blueberry season doesn’t last for long.
Although I’d love to stockpile cartons of fresh blueberries in my fridge to enjoy at a later date, they spoil quicker than heartier fruits like apples.
So, what are you to do when blueberry season is upon you and you want to savor the flavor of summer for months to come? Freeze those sweet blueberries, of course!
Why I Love Freezing Fresh Blueberries
- Purchased too many fresh blueberries and don’t want them to go to waste? You can extend the shelf life of these berries by freezing them. A great method to minimize food waste!
- You scored an amazing deal at the farmers market? I love to purchase in bulk and freeze for later when prices are low during blueberry season.
- Store frozen, fresh blueberries in your freezer to save money. Purchasing and freezing in bulk during the season is less expensive than purchasing outside of the growing season.
- Great for blueberry picking or if you grow your own blueberries! We have a blueberry bush and even with the smaller amount we get, I love to freeze my blueberry haul.
When is Blueberry Season?
Blueberries begin ripening in June and you can typically harvest them through August or September. Blueberries will continue ripening until the first frost of autumn.
Note that blueberries might start ripening earlier or later depending on the area you live. But, typically in the United States the months of June, July, and August are best for buying blueberries at the grocery store or farmer’s market.
Learn more about seasonal fruits and veggies – head over to my seasonal guides:
Ripe blueberries taste sweet and are extremely juicy.
If your berries are crunchy or mealy inside, they were picked before they were fully ripe, and unfortunately the quality of your blueberries is not ideal.
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Tools You Need to Freeze Blueberries
- Large Baking Sheet
- Container or Bag for Freezing
- Permanent Marker for Labeling
- Freezer Labels
- Optional: Vacuum Sealer and Vacuum Bags
Prepping Blueberries for Freezing
It is recommended that blueberries get a really good rinsing with water before they are frozen. For a deeper clean, here are favorite produce cleaning methods:
Cleaning Blueberries Before Freezing
- Branch Basics is my favorite non-toxic cleaner for washing produce. (Use code KATIEGLE for 15% off Branch Basics Products). Spray fruit with All-Purpose Cleaner, let soak 2 – 3 minutes, then rinse thoroughly with cold water.
- DIY Cleaning Solution for blueberries using 1/2 cup vinegar per 3 cups water. Let the berries soak in a large bowl of the solution for 2 – 3 minutes. Then, give them a good rinse.
After cleaning, you completely dry blueberries after cleaning before freezing them, or they can develop freezer burn. I like to lay the drained blueberries on a dry, clean dish towel and let them air dry.
What Containers Should I Use to Freeze Fresh Blueberries?
There are a few different containers that work for storing flash frozen blueberries.
The choice is up to you and largely depends on a few things: freezer space you have available, how long you wish to store blueberries in the freezer, and what type of freezer containers and material you prefer for storing food.
Storage Methods for Frozen Blueberries:
Plastic Freezer-Safe Bag
A gallon plastic bag is typically my go-to when it comes to storing frozen fruit. They’re easy, quick, and I usually have them on hand.
PROS: Easy to reseal if you dig into your stash of berries regularly or find yourself using a bit at a time. For storing smaller amounts, like a pint container of blueberries, use quart sized freezer bags.
CONS: Single use, usually. They can be washed, dried, and reused, however, but eventually get damaged and end up in the trash. Ziploc bags don’t remove as much air as vacuum sealer.
Available in a wide range of sizes (and colors) up to 104 fl. ounces. I like Stasher Bags, but there are a variety of brands on the market.
PROS: Convenience and ease of a plastic freezer bag. Eco-friendly. Silicone Bags don’t develop micro-tears or damage as easily as plastic freezer bags do. Reseal easily for using small amounts of frozen blueberries at a time.
CONS: They’re more expensive, but the cost is potentially offset over time by their durability and reusable nature.
Vacuum Seal Bags
We have a vacuum sealer and I love it! For long term storage, vacuum sealing gives the best results. Ideal for when you know you’re going to use the entire bag at once.
PRO: This is the best way to freeze blueberries if you want them to last for a long time because all of the air is removed from the bag. You’ll also maximize storage space. Bag size can be customized depending.
CONS: If you plan on using frozen blueberries frequently, this storage method isn’t ideal because they don’t reseal quickly. You’d have to purchase a vacuum sealer if you don’t own one.
I like Snapware, which comes in glass or plastic, if I plan to use a freezer-safe container. I don’t often use them for freezing fruit, because of the cons. But, this type of food storage container is great for freezing soup.
PRO: Reusable and available in a variety of shapes and sizes. You can reuse glass jars you already (canning jars, jars from food, etc.) have as long as the glass is freezer safe.
CONS: Takes up the most amount of space in the freezer. If you use glass, there is always the risk of it breaking.
How to Freeze Blueberries
Blueberries are one of the easiest fruit varieties to freeze! Unlike strawberries, you don’t have to hull them before hand. And compared to certain vegetables, there is no need to blanch them before freezing.
Here is a quick overview of the simple steps:
- Discard any overripe, spoiled, discolored, moldy, or otherwise defective berries.
- Rinse or wash blueberries.
- Completely dry the berries.
- Remove the hulls from the blueberries using a knife or blueberry huller
- Spread the blueberries on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet (tip: How to Line Pans with Parchment Paper). Berries should be in a single layer so they don’t freeze in big a clump.
- Place the baking tray in the freezer, keeping it level prevent the berries from sliding around.
- Flash freeze the berries just until solid, about 1 hour.
- Label the container or bag with date, contents, and amount.
How Long are Frozen Blueberries Good in the Freezer?
Fresh blueberries are heartier than most fresh berries and can last up to a week in the fridge. But, a good rule of thumb for frozen blueberries is that they’re best used within 12 to 18 months.
Vacuum sealed frozen blueberries will likely last for 2+ years as long as you’ve used a high quality bag and the sealer removed all of the air.
Do Frozen Blueberries Go Bad?
Frozen blueberries don’t really spoil, per se. Longer storage increases the potential for freezer burn. They’ll become less fresh over time, and you’ll notice more formation of ice crystals.
Do You Need to Thaw Frozen Blueberries Before Using?
Often unthawed frozen blueberries won’t cook through fully, especially if used in a recipe with a short cooking time — like blueberry pancakes — thawing first is always a good idea. If you don’t, you can end up with cold berries or raw batches of batter in the finished recipe.
If you’re making a blueberry cobbler, blueberry pie, cake, quick bread, or muffin, you don’t usually need to thaw frozen blueberries before using them.
But, it is a good idea to toss the frozen berries in a spoonful of flour or cornstarch before using in a recipe – frozen blueberries can release a lot of liquid when cooked. This can sometimes cause soggy baked goods!
Also, when baking with frozen blueberries, you might need to add a few extra minutes to the total cook time. The temperature of the batter or dough is lower when adding frozen berries than if you used fresh berries – that means they’ll need more time in the oven.
Thawing Frozen Blueberries
You have a few options when it comes to thawing frozen blueberries. Choose whichever method is best for you depending on how much time you have.
Thawing Blueberries on the Counter
Measure out the amount of frozen fresh blueberries you’d like to use. Place the frozen berries in a bowl or baking dish. Pour cold tap water into the bowl, just until the berries are covered.
Let the berries sit on your counter at room temperature until fully thawed, about 10 minutes. If the berries haven’t thawed after 10 minutes, drain the water and replace with fresh tap water.
The exact amount of time required to thaw frozen blueberries this way will depend on how many are in the bowl.
Once thawed, pat the berries dry with a clean kitchen towel and proceed with the recipe as instructed.
Thawing Blueberries in the Microwave
Place the desired amount of frozen fresh blueberries in a microwave-safe bowl that’s been lined with paper towels (this helps soak up the excess moisture from the berries).
Using the “Defrost” setting of your microwave, microwave the berries for 30 seconds. If they’re not fully thawed by that point, continue microwaving them on the defrost setting for 10-second intervals.
Thawing Blueberries in the Fridge
Measure the desired amount of frozen fresh blueberries into a bowl or sealable container. Place the berries in the fridge overnight, or for about 6 hours.
In the morning, the berries will be thawed and ready to use.
How to Freeze Blueberries: FAQ Frozen Blueberries Issues + Solutions
For the most part, it’s easy to substitute fresh blueberries with frozen blueberries. However, you may run into one of the following issues when doing so:
- My blueberries bled into the batter — Frozen berries often bleed into quick bread and cake batters. To prevent this, rinse the berries until cold tap water and pat them dry. Then, toss them with flour before mixing them into the batter.
- The recipe came out too watery — Frozen fresh blueberries release quite a bit of liquid once cooked. To combat this, toss the berries in some all-purpose flour before mixing them into the batter. If making a blueberry sauce or a fruit filling of some kind (i.e. in a pie or fruit crisp), you can add cornstarch to the berry mixture instead.
- The berries sank to the bottom — Don’t add frozen blueberries straight to the batter. Instead, toss them in a tablespoon or two of all-purpose flour first. This will prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the batter.
Frozen Blueberry Recipes (That Don’t Need Thawing)
Now that you know how to freeze blueberries, you can start cooking with them!
Below are some of my favorite frozen blueberry recipes that don’t require thawing first. From smoothies to sauces to blueberry muffins, there are so many recipes using frozen blueberries that you can make!
Frozen Blueberry Recipes (That Do Need Thawing)
While I love making frozen blueberry recipes that don’t require thawing in advance, I also have quite a few recipes that either call for thawed blueberries or just work better when you use frozen blueberries that have been thawed.
Here are my favorite recipes using thawed frozen blueberries.
More Produce Freezing Guides
Now that you know everything there is to know about freezing blueberries, here are some more helpful freezer. tutorials:
Frozen grapes make for great snacks on hot days, and they can be thrown into smoothies. Here’s How to Freeze Grapes the easy way!
Freezing Cranberries is a great way to take advantage of winter’s offerings year-round!
Yep, you can freeze spinach too. Here’s How to Freeze Spinach, plus a yummy smoothie you can make with it.
Freezing Basil minimizes food waste, preserves garden bounty, and ensures you always have some on hand for soups, stews, sauces, and more!
This helpful guide shows you The Best Ways to Freeze Strawberries and shares ways to use them in recipes.
Enjoy summer berries year round when you learn How to Freeze Raspberries. Check out all the recipe ideas, too.
Can You Freeze Kale? Absolutely! This post breaks down exactly how to freeze kale four different ways, depending on how you’ll want to use the frozen kale.
Who doesn’t love a good kitchen tip? Check out the entire Kitchen Tips and Tricks archive for lots of great ideas!
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- 1 pound Blueberries
- Discard any blueberries that have gone soft and mushy, are moldy, or have become discolored.
- Rinse the remaining berries in a colander under cold tap water.
- Allow the blueberries to dry completely on a towel.
- Spread the berries on a parchment paper-lined baking tray (tip: How to Line Pans with Parchment Paper). Make sure none of the berries overlap.
- Place the baking tray in the freezer. Keep it as level as possible to prevent the blueberries from sliding to one side.
- Freeze the berries just until solid, about 1 hour.
- Label and date the bag so you remember when you froze the blueberries.
How to Clean Blueberries for Freezing
Blueberries should receive a really good rinsing with water before freezing. If you want a deeper clean, here are my 2 favorite methods:
How Long Do Frozen Blueberries Last?
If stored correctly, frozen Blueberries will last 12 to 18 months in the freezer.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Nutrition InformationYield 4 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 65Total Fat 0gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 1mgCarbohydrates 16gFiber 3gSugar 11gProtein 1g
GoodLifeEats.com offers recipe nutritional information as a courtesy. This provided information is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although GoodLifeEats.com makes every effort to provide accurate information, these figures are only estimates.
Photography: some of the photos taken in this post are by Stephanie from Stephanie Fassler Photography.