We took a tip from the “Fridley Farmer” blog about a big sale on berries at Mike’s Discount Grocery in Fridley, MN. Although we switched out a carton or two of strawberries that had mold from the two flats, overall they were in pretty good shape. Unlike the farmer’s 200+lb purchase, we picked up 16 lbs for $8. We bought 12 pints of blueberries for $12, and like the strawberries, we did a spot check for mold. Good deals!
We’ve had a few pounds of strawberries from our own garden that Mutti has frozen down, but with the sale on seasonal berries, we couldn’t resist getting extra for the winter. Mutti remembers canning with her mom, but I’ve never canned and we both need time to prep a bit for the strawberries. So, we decided to freeze the blueberries first.
The consensus on the internet appears to be to NOT wash blueberries before freezing them. But Mutti said she has always washed them before freezing and preferred to have them ready out of the bag. For that reason, and because of my own concern for pesticides on produce, I went along with the pre-wash even though it goes against the advice of Cooks Illustrated, et al. A number of neurotoxins can be present from pesticide sprays, and if it kills bugs’ nervous systems dead think of the potential for accumulating effect in humans. I found an easy recipe for a pre-wash: one half-gallon of water to a half cup of white vinegar, with a splash of optional lemon juice.
We, horrors, soaked the blueberries briefly in this wash and then Mutti performed quality control and took off extraneous stems. I then rinsed them in cold water in a colander, dried them on a cloth towel lightly, and transferred them to an edged cookie sheet in a single layer to dry further.
After they were dry, we popped a couple of the sheets of blueberries in the freezer before putting the berries in a freezer bag for storage. We will have two more sheets to freeze after these and more pints to prep if we have the freezer space.