We have a favorite u-pick blueberry patch here in Michigan, as I’ve mentioned a few times already. My dear husband took about 25 pounds of blueberries home with him when he zipped home for a few days. He is now about halfway through freezing the lot.
It occurred to me that it might be helpful to just comment on freezing certain fruits and vegetables. Blueberries are probably the easiest thing to freeze.
First, if you’re transporting blueberries any distance, it’s important NOT to seal them up. The little old lady who was taking the money at the blueberry patch told me very firmly that they should never be transported in an ice chest because blueberries need to breathe.
Of course, the first year we brought a lot of blueberries home, I ignored her years of wisdom and packed them tight in an ice chest. Half of them were sour and slimy by the time they reached home after only about six hours in the hands of the United Airlines baggage people.
The next year, I opted to take them home in baskets, loosely covered with light towels, in a 3 day drive home. Amazingly, I only threw out TWO blueberries after those three days. Lesson learned. Little old blueberry ladies really do know what they’re talking about.
Needless to say, Dave took this installment of this year’s berries home in baskets. Once he got home, he spread the berries out on cookie sheets and picked out any stems or squished berries. He did NOT wash the berries but he did make sure that they were not stacked on each other or bunched together. They need to be frozen as dry as possible. He placed the loaded cookie sheets in the freezer for a few hours. Once the berries were frozen solid, he swept them all into large, labelled ziplock bags and returned them to the freezer. Now we can use as few or as many berries at one time as we want. Because they are frozen individually, they’ll shake out of the bag individually, not in one large clump.
Best of all, blueberries are like the wonder fruit. They’re huge in antioxidants and other good things. Now we get to have a bit of Michigan summer on our pancakes or on our cereal all winter long!
Next, I’ll talk about freezing and preserving beets.