Appalachian Food

Freezing Blueberries

bow of blueberries

This has been a bumper year for our blueberry bushes. We’ve made pies, muffins, and cakes, but mostly we’ve eaten the blueberries out of hand. Both the girls and I can eat them at every meal as well as for a mid-morning or a late evening snack.

But when you’re picking gallons at a time, it’s almost impossible to eat them all before they go bad. My preference for putting up blueberries is to freeze them.

I wash the berries and let them drain good. I line baking sheets with towels and spread blueberries in a single layer and then pop the whole tray in the freezer. By the end of the day or after several hours the berries are frozen solid. The last step couldn’t be simpler. Put the frozen blueberries in a freezer bag and store them in the freezer till needed.

I like freezing them on trays so they stay loose in the bag, which makes it easy to take out just enough for muffins, a pie, or a smoothie. My current favorite smoothie is a handful of frozen blueberries, two spoonfuls of plain yogurt, coconut milk, and chocolate protein powder. I’ve got the girls to drinking them for breakfast too. The Deer Hunter says no thank you he’ll stick to eggs, biscuits, sausage, and gravy for his morning meal 🙂


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  • Reply
    September 2, 2019 at 10:43 pm

    We picked about 35 gallons from our 7 bushes this year. about 13 – 14 gallons went in the freezer and the rest were given away. We were away for a few days twice and our neighbors picked. I don’t know how many they got. We have blueberry muffins most every morning and a cobbler about monthly. We freeze them and wash them when we are ready to use them.

  • Reply
    September 2, 2019 at 7:43 pm

    My vote is with the Deerhunter, I love blueberries but not in a smoothy for breakfast. Now, stack me some pancakes with blueberry surp, and a few blueberries and I’m a happy camper.

  • Reply
    Hank Skewis
    September 2, 2019 at 3:08 pm

    It’s been a great year here in California for blueberries too, first from CA and now from Canada…
    Say, do you know what “ash cake” is, as mentioned in the old gospel song “Over there?” (“The ash cake tastes like shortnin’ bread”). GREAT tune. Would be interested in folks’ take on this.
    Thanks for all you do. Hank Skewis

  • Reply
    September 2, 2019 at 11:37 am

    That’s about the same way I freeze all fruit – even peeled and sliced apples – on a baking tray, with a piece of wax paper to keep them from sticking. Then tumble them into a freezer bag, pull all the air out with a straw, and then I can pour out however much I want.
    You are so lucky to have all the blueberries you can want! I’ve been enjoying a small handful every couple of days from the last surviving stem of my old wild highbush blueberry. I’m trying to decide whether to take the chance of cutting one of the two new green branches that sprouted at the highest part of the bush, and trying to root it for a new plant that could go to a sunnier spot. I’ll have to decide this week, I think – that soft green stem will be getting harder soon.
    If you or any of your readers has ever rooted a blueberry cutting, I’d be very glad to hear about it!

  • Reply
    John T
    September 2, 2019 at 10:37 am

    The Smoothie sounds great, but the Deer Hunters breakfast sounds better.

  • Reply
    September 2, 2019 at 10:24 am

    That’s a great way to freeze them up for easy use…. I love Blueberries and like my muffins chock full of them. I have always enjoyed berries in general , especially right out of the field, or bowl… fresh and tasty. I also really like blueberry syrup poured over vanilla ice cream …boy isn’t homemade ice cream so good…now I’m getting hungry

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    September 2, 2019 at 9:00 am

    Somebody(ies?) at your house is/are patient to pick all those blueberries. By and by I might would be thinking, ‘Whose idea was it to plant all these bushes anyway?’ We didn’t get any this year. Critters ate them before they even got fully ripe. Maybe on their side they know if they don’t get then first I will.

    As for the Deer Hunter’s breakfast, I remember the story of his multiple trips per day up and down the ladders working on the cupola. He needs all those calories. There was a time, long ago, when I had four eggs for breakfast.

    I wish I could show you what I grew up calling ‘box huckleberry’. I think you would like them. They are shiny evergreen plants that only grow about a foot high. The berries are large and beautiful blue. The plants typically grow in large colonies at the ridge ends, nearing the clifftops on the Cumberland Plateau. They would make a great ground cover plant.

  • Reply
    September 2, 2019 at 8:52 am

    Lowe’s had blueberry plants half off last week and I carried two around in my cart for a few minutes before putting them back. I decided to try growing some Huckleberries. After Googling some info about them, I was shocked to find they only grow in NW USA. My parents used to take us to the Breaks Park and let us pick what they called wild huckleberries. If they don’t grow in VA, I guess we must have been eating wild blueberries. They were so much bigger and sweeter than any blueberries I have ever bought in stores.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    September 2, 2019 at 8:40 am

    Each summer, a bunch of us mountain boys would head off to Piercy Creek through the Mountains. Some of us would have a Baccer can of Red Worms in our hip pockets, others would have Waspers taken down from old buildings.

    There was a Jeep trail beside Monte Kits place where he stayed with his Grandpa and Grandma, Alex and Maggie Nelson on Powderburnt Branch in upper Topton. We’d take that route and do all the Shortcuts that we knew. We’d leave the road after we went a ways, up Mule’s Face and into the Southern Gap. There the berries was as far as you could see. They were Black as pitch dark and so we called them Buckberries. They were good, and as soon as we could eat our fill, we’d head on to Piercy Creek to catch Speckled Trout. Back then, Speckled Trout was Plentiful and we couldn’t hardly wait to cut us a pole and start Fishin’. They bit so hard that you thought you had a biggin’. They’d come out of the creekbanks and bite red worms or Waspers and you’d think a four or five inch was a Whopper. Those were the Good ole days, when a bunch of boys could get together and have lots of fun. …Ken

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    September 2, 2019 at 8:37 am

    I’m with the Deer Hunter. Berries are for the birds!

  • Reply
    Janet Smart
    September 2, 2019 at 8:31 am

    We have 3 blueberry bushes and they did really great this year. They’re clean and we dont spray them, so I just put them in the freezer bags without washing. Your smoothie sounds good, but I’m hooked on oatmeal for breakfast. But blueberries go in my oatmeal every morning. Its delicious! And when we have our Saturday morning pancakes twice a month, we add blueberries and pecans. They are so good.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    September 2, 2019 at 7:51 am

    Well, that seems like a nice simple way to process blueberries. Tipper, I’ve never seen anyone who loves blueberries like you do! I so glad your bushes are finally producing lots of blueberries!

  • Reply
    September 2, 2019 at 7:33 am

    We do not wash before freezing. Each year we pick from a u-pick farm and usually put 10 gallons in freezer. Take out what we need daily, rinse off and use. Berries don’t stick together. Have been doing this for years now. Each to his own way. My son says choices—-and that is why they make chocolate and vanilla ice cream both.

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    September 2, 2019 at 7:30 am

    Your smoothie sounds great. Think I will try it. I have never had coconut milk. Would regular milk work??

    • Reply
      September 2, 2019 at 7:42 am

      Gayle-I’m sure regular milk would work just fine 🙂

      • Reply
        Aaron Patterson
        September 2, 2019 at 9:12 am

        We too had a good crop of blueberries and freeze the same way. However we save our round “stacked” potato chip containers and fill. Makes it easy to shake out what you need. Don’t recommend using more than once though.This is also a good way to save chopped up bell peppers; using what you need for spaghetti etc. Just process the same way as blueberries. We save Vidalia onions this way as well as chives.

  • Reply
    Sheryl A Paul
    September 2, 2019 at 6:30 am

    I also freeze blueberries, I do not wash first so they are ready to pop in the freezer. I also don’t bother with trays, but bag up lay them flat and they are perfect. Just remember to wash before you use. We have a huge organic patch I buy from every year and put ip sbout 4 4# bags each year

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