It doesn't matter if you just got done picking a whole container of fresh berries from the local pick-your-own blueberry patch, bought a few extra containers of fresh blueberries at the farmer’s market, or just picked up some at the grocery store, understanding the shelf life of blueberries and the various ways to store this delicious fruit is extremely important!
- Health benefits of blueberries
- How to choose blueberries
- How long do fresh blueberries last at room temperature?
- How long do fresh blueberries last in the fridge?
- How long do blueberries last in the freezer?
- How to tell if blueberries have gone bad
- Do I have to throw out the whole container if there's just one, or a few bad blueberries?
- More to explore
Health benefits of blueberries
Blueberries are one of the most popular fruits, and for good reason.
They're not only a delicious fruit, but they're also a nutritious fruit. Here are a few of the benefits (source) of enjoying fresh-picked blueberries:
- They're low in calories.
- The berries are rich in antioxidants that help in anti-aging ways and to help protect against cancer.
- Helpful in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels.
- Can help lower blood pressure and improve overall heart health and decrease your heart disease risk.
- Eating blueberries may help with brain function and improve memory.
- Some studies show that consuming blueberries can help with urinary tract infections, similarly to how cranberries have a similar impact to our bodies.
- Other studies have shown that blueberries have anti-diabetes effects. The anthocyanins in blueberries help with insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism.
- Consuming blueberries or blueberry supplements are supposed to be good for muscle recovery after a long or strenuous workout.
- Blueberries are a good source of Vitamin C, giving you almost a quarter of your recommended dose of Vitamin C when you have 1 cup of blueberries!
It is recommended that you have 1 cup of blueberries daily to get all the best benefits that blueberries have to offer!
This is another great reason to stock up when it's blueberry season and freeze them to save them for later!
How to choose blueberries
Use these tips to pick the perfect ripe blueberries and avoid the overripe blueberries:
- When picking berries off blueberry plants, look for plump berries and smooth ones with a dark blue/purple color
- You don't want any leaves or stems still connected to your berries
- Skip the red blueberries as they aren't ripe yet and will not continue to ripen once you remove them from the bush
- Avoid any wrinkled or shriveled up berries
Once you've found all the fresh blueberries you can handle, go ahead and make all your favorite blueberry recipes.
My family can't get enough of these gluten free, vegan blueberry muffins!
Be sure to give them a try.
Then once you've used all you want to initially, learn how to properly store your blueberries at room temperature, in the fridge, and in the freezer.
How long do fresh blueberries last at room temperature?
Generally, blueberries have a short shelf life if stored at room temperature.
Only leave your clamshell of blueberries at room temperature if you plan to eat them in the next day or two or a short period of time.
How long do fresh blueberries last in the fridge?
Storing them in the crisper drawer in the fridge increases the shelf life of your blueberries compared to leaving them on the counter in their original container and is a better option.
The best practice for storing the container of blueberries is to NOT wash them before storing them.
The dry blueberries have a natural coating on the outside of the skin that helps prevent decay and damage, when you wash or rinse the berries, you're breaking that natural protection barrier, so it's recommended to wait to wash your berries until you're ready to use them.
Check thru the whole bin of unwashed blueberries and remove any berries that have started to turn or go bad so they don't spoil the rest of the fresh blueberry pack.
Pat the blueberries down with a paper towel to remove any excess water or juices that may have been released from the blueberries during transport.
I also suggest placing a handful of paper towels at the bottom of the container to soak up any future juices that will be released.
You should also use paper towels in between berry layers for best results.
Blueberries that are stored in high humidity places or places that are very moist and wet, they will turn and go bad a lot faster than anticipated. That's why we suggest to store your blueberries with paper towels or some other kind of towel that is absorbent so it can pull and wick away the moisture.
Be sure to check on those towels and change them out as needed so your blueberries stay nice and fresh for as long as possible.
Fresh blueberries should last about 5-10 days in the fridge if stored properly.
The length that blueberries will last may vary depending on what condition you received them in and how old they were when you got the blueberries.
How long do blueberries last in the freezer?
Frozen blueberries will last about six to twelve months if stored correctly in the freezer.
If you don't think you can use all of your fresh blueberries during the time frame that they will be good in the refrigerator, it's always a good idea to freeze the rest of them.
Nobody likes a bad blueberry or wasting any food, so freezing them helps the blueberries last a longer time.
Here's how to efficiently and easily freeze your berries for use at a later time:
- Dry your blueberries completely and transfer berries to a rimmed baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. (DO NOT rinse or wash berries before freezing them!)
- Cover the sheet with plastic wrap or aluminum foil before placing it in the freezer to freeze for 6-8 hours.
- Once frozen, transfer the frozen berries to a freezer safe container or freezer bag and label them before placing them back in the freezer.
- To thaw your delicious berries, remove the frozen bag of berries from the freezer and let them thaw in the fridge overnight, the night before you wish to use them.
If you need them thawed faster, place them in a cold water bath, but do NOT ever use the microwave to thaw them as this will make them mushy.
Freezing your blueberries is a great way to preserve a bunch of blueberries when you don't want to use them right away or make blueberry jam immediately.
Frozen blueberries are the perfect things to use in smoothies, like this Blueberry Pie Smoothie or the Apple Blueberry Lemon Smoothie.
Both of these are great for snacks or breakfast recipes!
How to tell if blueberries have gone bad
Blueberries, like strawberries, can be such a fragile fruit.
It's important to always check your container of blueberries often and be sure to remove any bad or moldy blueberries as soon as possible so they don't cause the other healthy berries to start to turn bad or spoil.
The best option is to store blueberries in a breathable container, not a sealed plastic bag.
If your berries are showing any fo these signs, they're starting to turn into bad berries:
- Blueberries that are mushy to the touch
- Berries that have a soft texture
- Discolored blueberries that are no longer that deep dark blue hue you're used to
- The berries may show signs of bruising where the stem was attached to them
- Toss any blueberries that show the presence of mold or mold growth
- Avoid any blueberries that are leaking or oozing their blueberry juices, this can be a sign of rotten berries
Do I have to throw out the whole container if there's just one, or a few bad blueberries?
The good news is, you do not have to throw out the entire container of blueberries if you find just a handful that are showing signs of going bad or have gone bad.
All you have to do is pick out those bad blueberries, toss them out, check the rest of the container for any blueberries that are showing signs that they're getting ready to go bad soon, and separate them out.
You can keep the rest of the container of blueberries, just be sure you are storing them properly to avoid causing any food-borne illnesses and to preserve your blueberries for as long as you can.
I hope you're feeling a little more educated and prepared to know how to pick the best and most flavorful blueberries, know how to properly store them on the counter, in the refrigerator, and even in the freezer for more of a longer term storage solution.
So, you can enjoy your blueberries all year long and without wasting any!
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