Blueberries are a deliciously simple snack that are not only easy to eat but also high in nutrients that prove the fruit is tiny but mighty. Blueberries are incredibly high in antioxidants, including anthocyanins and quercetin which both help lower the risk of heart disease. In fact, the majority of antioxidants are located in the skin layer of the fruit, making it the healthiest part of the entire fruit. Not only are blueberries rich in antioxidants, but a single cup of blueberries is only 84 calories, making it a healthy, simple snack!
Harvest, store and preserve blueberries
Pick berries early in the morning, when it is cool, in order to prevent them from ripening too quickly. Once picked, place blueberries in the shade or refrigerator. How many berries do you need? Two pounds of fresh blueberries will make 1 quart of frozen or canned berries.
To prolong the life of blueberries, store them in a covered, shallow container in the fridge where they are easily accessible. Avoid washing them as the water can make them mold quickly. You can rinse your berries gently right before consuming them.
Blueberries can be canned in syrup, water, or natural juices. They can be canned whole and will retain their natural color and shape and can be canned via the hot or raw pack methods.
Dip berries in boiling water, syrup or juice for 30 seconds; drain. Fill jars and cover with hot liquid, leaving ½ inch headspace. Adjust lids and process in boiling water canner: pints and quarts 15 minutes. After processing, take canner off the heat. Remove lid and wait 5 minutes before removing jars. Check with your local county Extension Office for altitude adjustments over 1000 feet.
Fill jars with raw berries, shaking down gently while filling. Cover with hot syrup, juice, or water, leaving ½ inch headspace. Adjust lids and process in boiling water canner: pints 15 minutes, quarts 20 minutes. After processing, take canner off heat. Remove lid and wait 5 minutes before removing jars. Check with your local county Extension Office for altitude adjustments over 1000 feet. Note: There will be more floating fruit using the raw pack method.
Not sure what to do with your picked blueberries? Freeze them! Frozen blueberries can be used to make jams, jellies, pies, cobblers, or syrups.
Freeze individually: wash, drain, place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Freeze until firm and then package in a container
In Sugar: Sweeten your frozen blueberries by washing, draining, and sprinkling with sugar! Leave the berries at room temperature until the sugar has dissolved and then package and freeze.
Pectin: Do you like your blueberries on top of ice cream, waffles, or pancakes? Mix 3 cups white sugar with 1 package powdered fruit pectin. Coat whole berries with mixture, put in a single layer of a cookie sheet and freeze. Once frozen, remove blueberries from cookie sheet and place berries in containers. (mixture is enough for 3 gallons of berries)
Click here for more information on preserving blueberries!
To find out where you can find blueberries at the markets check out our blog for a complete list of vendors that sell it!
Berry Fruit Salad
Wash all fruit. Remove pits from cherries. Combine all fruit into one bowl and add honey. Enjoy!