When your blueberry bushes are flourishing and producing more blueberries than you can eat, there are a few ways that you can preserve these fresh berries so that you are able to enjoy them year round. Like all berries, blueberries tend to have a short shelf life after they reach peak ripeness. This means you will need to use or preserve blueberries quickly before they turn bad.
Ways to preserve blueberries
While freezing seems to be the most popular way to preserve blueberries, there are many other options available.
Dehydrating blueberries is easy and a great way to keep these sweet fruits from going to waste. Dehydrated blueberries can be crushed to use a flavouring or a colouring for baked goods.
To dehydrate your blueberries, gently wash and your blueberries. Cut or poke the blueberries to break the outer skin. You can then dip them into boiling water for 30 seconds to help loosen the skins. This will help speed up the drying process.
Place your blueberries in a single layer on your dehydrator trays. Run your dehydrator on 138˚F or 59˚C for 16 to 20 hours until your berries are fully dry.
For the best results rotate your trays every few hours. Check how your berries are drying with each rotation.
Check your berries are done by pinching them between your thumb and forefinger. If they crush into a powder, your blueberries are ready.
Freezing blueberries is easy. Wash and dry them then place them on a lined cookie sheet and freeze for 1 to 2 hours. Remove from the cookie sheets and store in a zip lock bag or freezer safe / air tight container and store in the freezer until needed. This will help to keep your blueberries from sticking together so you can use as many or as few as you need at a time.
Blueberries can be canned in a few simple ways. Blueberry compote is a popular way to can blueberries.
You can also make simple canned blueberries by canning them in a simple syrup, water, apple or white grape juice for use in baking and cooking later like you would use fresh berries for a fun treat over the winter.
Fist, wash jars and prepare lids according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
For a very light simple syrup, mix 1 ¼ cups of sugar with 10 ½ cups of water. Heat the mixture until the sugar is dissolved. For a heavier syrup, try mixing 3 ¾ cups of sugar with 8 ¼ cups of water.
To hot pack, place clean and drained blueberries in the boiling syrup, juice or water and boil for around 30 seconds. Pour into prepared jars. Leave ½ inch of headspace. Add lids, tighten screw bands, and process jars in a water-bath for the proper time for your location. (15 minutes pints and 20 minutes quarts – adjusting for your elevation.)
To raw pack, add drained berries to your prepared jars and cover with boiling syrup, water, or juice. Leave ½ inch of headspace. Add lids, tighten screw bands, and process jars in a water-bath for the proper time for your location. (15 minutes pints and 20 minutes quarts – adjusting for your elevation.)
Freeze Dry Blueberries
Lately, freeze dryers are becoming more popular. If you have a freezer dryer, try freeze drying your blueberries.
If you don’t, they are an expensive investment. Currently, I do not own a freeze dryer, but am looking into it.
Cooking with Blueberries
This Blueberry Syrup is easy to make and tastes great, and is amazingly versatile – tastes especially on pancakes or waffles for breakfast!
If you are looking for a great way to use your sourdough starter discard, then why not try these yummy Blueberry Muffins made with sourdough discard.
This homemade blueberry jam is so easy to make and tastes delicious!
Easily make your own gorgeous, naturally dyed blueberry eggs for Easter – or any other time.
This blueberry cheesecake is a lovely home-cooked, baked cheesecake that is just so delicious.
This blueberry and pumpkin bread is so moist and delicious. Goes well with a cuppa for morning or afternoon tea.
Mash up some fresh blueberries and swirl through ice cream, yoghurt or even top your oats with this delicious fruit.
Looking for more. Here are 12 different ways to use blueberries!