Blueberries are, as you’d imagine, not particularly easy to keep for long stretches of time. While you won’t get as much mileage out of blueberries as you would out of apples, you can still hang onto them for up to 10 days if you refrigerate them early on.
Since blueberries are one of the frailest fruits you could be buying, though, it often won’t be enough just to throw the whole packaging into the fridge and be done with it.
Instead, you’ll need to make sure that none of the individual berries you’re hoping to store are overripened, to make sure that they’re dry, and even that there’s enough air circulation in the specific spot where you’re about to put them down. Fret not, though, because if you follow our guide you’ll have no problems in this regard.
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How to Store Blueberries Properly
Right off the bat, it’s worth keeping in mind that blueberries aren’t the best keeper when it comes to fruit. Generally speaking, you’d do well to use them up within a week of buying them, though you can get a bit more mileage if you refrigerate them properly.
You need to pick out all the damaged and over ripened berries out of your batch before setting it down for storage. As is usually the case with fruit, any less-than-stellar items will quickly spoil the bunch, so you need to minimize the odds of that happening.
Once you’ve confirmed that your berries are sound and healthy, set them down in a lightweight, perforated container of some sort (like this one). Any kind will do, but if it’s got bigger perforations, you can use old newspapers to fill the gaps.
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Finally, you need to make some room on a shelf of your fridge. This is key because you need to ensure enough air circulation for berries to breathe. Do not put the packaging down in the crisper drawer, because not only does that prevent proper air circulation, but it’s also highly humid – something you want to avoid with blueberries.
The actual first step of our blueberry storage guide, though, comes way before all of that. No matter how amazing your fruit storage conditions might be, it’s all going to be for naught unless you buy top-tier blueberries, to begin with.
How To Find The Best Blueberries At The Store
Generally speaking, blueberries are usually the freshest during the summer months, between June and August. Of course, this doesn’t mean you can’t find good blueberries for the rest of the year, but they are more likely to have gone through a freezing cycle that way.
While searching for the best pack of blueberries, you should look for fruit without any leaves or stems, and which is dark in color. Think deep blue, almost purple, or even black, if particularly ripe.
The so-called “bloom” is also an important feature of this particular kind of berry. A blueberry’s bloom is the silvery-white film on the surface of the fruit. You’ve probably noticed it beforehand without knowing what it was.
Bloom is essentially a natural anti-rot coating produced by blackberries, which means that you want plenty of it, and for it to be basically intact until you’re ready to actually eat them.
Can I Keep Blueberries Stored In A Pantry?
Blueberries are unlikely to fare well in a regular pantry or a storage closet. They will overripen rather quickly if left out of the fridge, which means this should be a last resort, and only used for short stretches of time. Two or three days, tops.
How Long Can Blueberries be Safely Stored?
This might be slightly disappointing if you were hoping to hoard a lifetime supply of blueberries, but even if carefully curated and well-refrigerated, blueberries are unlikely to last more than 10 days at a time.
If you leave them out in the open, though, you’ll need to munch on them within the next couple of days.
Of course, you could always opt for the freezer. If your berries are healthy, ripened, and haven’t suffered any real physical damage, and if you can get all the moisture off of them, putting them down in a freezer could easily add months to their expiration date.
How Do I Know If My Blueberries Have Already Expired?
Expired blueberries aren’t hard to spot, but you can easily miss them if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Mold is an obvious red flag, yes, but keep an eye out for mushy-looking, soft berries, too.
Discoloration and bruising won’t be easy to spot on fruit as dark as blueberries are, but they can be visible in some cases.
Since you’ll probably be buying prepackaged batches of blueberries, it goes without saying that you can’t check them all right away. It should be easy to spot if the berries are no longer juicy and firm, though.
Blueberry Storage Mistakes You Can Easily Avoid!
There are two major blueberry storage mistakes that we’ve done ourselves, and they’re both easily avoidable if you know what you’re doing.
The first is that it’s perfectly fine to keep the blueberries in that very same plastic box you bought them in. You may have noticed that they have plenty of holes and perforations for the berries to breathe through, and if the fruit is healthy, then there shouldn’t be a lot of moisture present, either.
The second mistake builds onto the first, in that you must not wash the blueberries until you’re just about to eat them. Remember that we mentioned the blueberries’ bloom as a major safeguard against mold and mush? Well, if you wash them, you’re basically taking that off and risking early spoilage.
Keep Your Blueberries Fresh By Storing Them Correctly
Unlike many other fruits and veg, blueberries are a finicky bounty. Delicious as they might be, their shelf-life is shoddy, to say the least (unless you go out of your way to freeze them), and it’s going to be best to use them up quickly.
Stick to our advice and you’ll easily get about a week and a half out of your berries, in optimal conditions. Though, now that we think of it, berry munchies are a serious issue, and holding onto blueberries for more than two days at a time is already a big deal, we feel.