Easiest way to Freeze Blueberries

Freezing blueberries isn’t hard or complicated. Put the berries into one-quart, zip-lock freezer bags, and place them in the freezer.

That’s it. Really that’s all you need to do. When it’s time to defrost them for a recipe, rinse them, let them drain, then place them on paper towels to eliminate most of the moisture. Perform your quality control at this point making sure there’s no leaves, stems or unripe berries. They are now ready for use.

Some people favor washing them first. Then a long period of draining and drying them. Then placing them on a cookie sheet and freezing them. Then bagging them. Then putting them back into the freezer.

Few people have that much freezer space, especially during the summer when produce is cheap and people are stocking up on good sales. Plus blueberry growers usually do not recommend washing berries before freezing.

In fact, the US Blueberry Council ( www.blueberry.org) specifically says: “Be sure to not wash the blueberries before freezing. …When you are ready to use your blueberries, take them out and wash prior using.” Too much moisture will turn your berries into mush and by putting water on your berries you can damage the natural protection they have on their skins – the substance that makes berries appear to have a frosty look.

Now that you have bags of beautiful, frozen blueberries, here are two recipes that you might enjoy.

Maw’s Blueberry Muffins

1-3/4 cups sifted flour minus 2 tablespoons you set aside
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons large crystal sugar
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, well beaten
1 cup milk
1/3 cup oil
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in 2 tablespoons of sugar. Mix beaten egg, milk, and oil, and add to dry ingredients. Stir only until moistened.

Toss blueberries with remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 tablespoons of flour and fold into batter with care.

Fill greased muffin tins about two-thirds full. Sprinkle batter with large crystal sugar. Bake for 25 minutes at 400 degrees. This recipe makes a dozen muffins.

If you don’t have large crystal sugar, you can use 2 tablespoons of table sugar instead.

These muffins are light and lovely for breakfast or dessert.

Another favorite recipe of mine is this quick and easy blueberry jam.

No-Cook Blueberry Jam

1 qt. fresh or frozen blueberries
4 cups sugar
1-1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 bottle liquid pectin (3 ounces)

Mash clean, fresh or frozen berries with large spoon or potato masher. Add in sugar and mix well. Mix lemon juice with pectin and add to blueberries and stir about 4 minutes.

Pour into containers; both jars and plastic containers work well. Keep the containers on your counter overnight, then freeze or refrigerate in the morning.

So easy to make and so good on English muffins.

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