Don’t you miss the summery taste of blueberries in the winter time? We definitely do! Not only do blueberries taste amazing, but they are one of the most antioxidant rich foods you can find. The beautiful blue color of these berries comes from their polyphenols which provide most of the antioxidant properties. Not only that, but blueberries are also high in vitamin C, fiber and manganese. Keep these berries as a healthy part of your diet throughout the winter by preserving what you have picked at the farm or in your own yard.
It is most common to freeze blueberries. Frozen blueberries are great to use when baking, making smoothies, as a delicious snack or in cereal or yogurt in the morning.
First, rinse and dry your farm-fresh berries. Spread them out on a cookie sheet and place in the freezer. Make sure the tray is level. Allow the berries to harden overnight. This step of freezing them initially in a single layer keeps them from clumping too much in the bag. In the morning, transfer the berries to zip-lock bags.
You can dry blueberries for use in granola, yogurt, muffins, or as a healthy snack in school lunches. They are even more delicious and nutritious than raisins! You can use a food dehydrator to dry the berries. We recommend that you follow the manufacturer’s directions if you are using this method as every dehydrator is slightly different.
Alternately, you can use your oven to dry the blueberries. Education Coordinator Cat Buxton prefers to use this method. She blanches the berries first. This is an important step because blanching cracks the skin so the berries don’t dry with a balloon of skin around them. After blanching, she places the berries on a cookie sheet and dries them with just the pilot heat from her propane oven. She then stores them in glass jars. She says, “They’d last for years but never last that long!”
Other Preservation Tips…
For more information on preserving the summer’s bounty check out the following tips!
Love red-ripe tomato flavor in your winter stews? Learn how to freeze tomatoes.
How about herbs? This is an interesting and unique way to freeze herbs.
If you love drying things, you can always dry hot peppers for use in spicy dishes to warm up this winter.
photos: CCF staff
source: CCF staff