If you’ve just brought home a bag of blueberries from the farm or the market, you might be wondering how long these delicious berries will last. We’ve got you covered if that’s the case! Like any other fresh berry or fruit, blueberries will go bad after a while. However, the location and method of storage play a significant role in the longevity of blueberries. If stored incorrectly, bacterial or mould contamination could ruin this delicious berry. If blueberries have gone wrong, you can tell right away because the rot or mould is accompanied by a few distinct characteristics.
Blueberries are delicious in muffins, bread, cakes, pies, pancakes, cheesecakes, and on their own. Though their peak season is in the summer, you can probably find them in the grocery store all year. However, once you purchase them, you only have a limited time to consume them before they spoil. They can be kept on the counter for one day at room temperature, but any longer than that and they will go wrong. They are temperature sensitive, so keep them off your counter if your house is hot.
Although blueberries are widely consumed in the United States today, they have a short history as a cultivated fruit. Since the early twentieth century, blueberries had only existed as a crop when a New Jersey farmer’s daughter teamed up with a botanist to cultivate and breed blueberries. In 1916, the first blueberry crops were harvested, igniting the blueberry boom and our love for this tiny fruit. Blueberries range in colour from indigo to deep purple and are plump, sweet, and juicy. While the cultivated variety of the fruit originated in New Jersey, it is now commercially grown in 38 states and other countries (Canada, British Columbia, and South America).
How to Tell if Blueberry is Bad?
If you see rotten or moldy blueberries, you can tell right away. If your eyes aren’t trained to recognize good blueberries from bad, here are a few tips to help you tell the difference.
- Juices leak from rotten berries all the time. So stay away from any berries that have cracked and are leaking.
- Because mold can quickly spread between berries, you should discard any that have white or any other colored mold growing on them.
- Sour berries are frequently mushy and soft. Furthermore, the outer covering’s texture is wrinkly and dehydrated in comparison. If a berry felt slightly jiggly in your hands, it was probably no longer edible.
- Anything rotten will, of course, emit a foul odor. If the entire container emits an unpleasant odor, the entire batch of berries may have gone wrong. Even if you get some good ones, wash them in a vinegar-water solution before eating them.
- It is not difficult to identify wasted berries, and you may not even need to taste them to determine their quality.
- Frozen burn has started if you notice any dry patches or discoloration in your frozen blueberries, and it does not render the berries unfit for consumption. However, make sure you consume those berries quickly before their quality deteriorates further.
How Long do Blueberries Last?
There is usually no ‘Best before date on the packaging of store-bought blueberries. If you want to estimate the days until they go wrong, you can use the purchased date. It is best to buy berries that have a ‘Best before the date written on the packaging. These nutritious berries will last a few days if left at room temperature. If you keep these berries in the fridge or freezer, you’ll have plenty of time to eat them before they spoil.
They usually last 5-10 days or even a week in the refrigerator, and the berries will keep in the freezer for about a year. You can even dry blueberries on your own if you don’t know, and they will last about a year if you do this.
How to Store Blueberries?
Here are six easy steps for storing blueberries:
Do Not Wash them Before Storing them
When it comes to bacterial and mold contamination, moisture is one of the most common causes. Furthermore, blueberries are notorious for becoming moldy in a short period. So, if you’re not ready to eat blueberries right away, don’t wash them because the protective bloom, which prevents moisture loss in blueberries and thus keeps them from decaying, shouldn’t be washed away.
Check the Batch Properly Before Storage
Although blueberry stems are edible, they are pretty bitter. It is, therefore, preferable to remove the stems before storage. Furthermore, it would be best if you filtered out any soft, rotten, or moldy berries from the batch. Rotten berries increase the container’s overall moisture content, increasing the risk of contamination.
Refrigerate the Blueberries
Keep them refrigerated if you don’t know if you’ll eat the berries within a few days. Store the berries in a closed container lined with a paper towel or in designated fruit storage containers. Also, because the humidity in the coldest parts of the refrigerator and crispers is relatively high, don’t store blueberries there. One of the most important things to remember is to store them in low-humidity, cool areas when it comes to berries. Furthermore, berries do not get enough air circulation in the crisper drawer.
Freeze the Blueberries if they are Overripe
If you brought a bag of fresh blueberries home from the farm, you’d need to freeze them if you want to keep them longer than two weeks.
Dry the Blueberries
Blueberries, dried, make a great snack. In case you were wondering, you can successfully dry blueberries at home using a dehydrator or an oven. To crack the outer skin and dry the berries, boil them for two minutes. Then, bake the berries for 4 hours at 140 degrees Celsius, stirring every 30 minutes. Allow the berries to cool completely before storing them in an airtight container.
Wash with Vinegar
Use a one-part vinegar and three-part water solution to wash the berries. Vinegar kills mold and keeps it from growing. Ensure to wash the berries with clean water afterward to remove the vinegar smell.
Can you Freeze Blueberries?
If you want blueberries to last six months to a year, you can freeze them. If you’re curious, freezing berries is very simple. Begin by thoroughly washing the berries, drying them with paper towels, and spreading a layer of them onto a tray. Freeze the berries for about 2-3 hours, or until completely frozen, then store in an airtight zip-lock bag.
Finally, place the bag in the freezer to complete the process. Frozen blueberries can also be used directly in recipes. For example, if you’re having a shake or smoothie, you can add some frozen clean blueberries to it. If you plan to use the berries while baking, give them a quick rinse. This will prevent the berries from leaking too much juice onto the baked item.
Furthermore, frozen blueberries are even healthier than fresh blueberries, according to a study conducted at South Dakota State University. The berries’ cell structures are disrupted by the tiny ice crystals formed during freezing, making anthocyanin, an antioxidant found in the blueberry skin, more accessible to our system.
Risk of Consuming Expired Blueberries
Due to harmful contaminants such as the hepatitis A virus, blueberries, whether fresh or frozen, are a common source of food poisoning. As a result, only eat blueberries when they are fresh, thoroughly washed, and decontaminated. When it comes to expired blueberries, could you stay away from them? The molds that grow on the berries stink and taste bad, but they may also cause allergic reactions or respiratory problems in some people. Furthermore, moldy blueberries are more likely to be old and nutritionally deficient. Consuming such berries is thus an unnecessary risk. As a result, if you suspect that blueberries have gone wrong or that you’ve stored them for longer than necessary, it’s probably best to discard them.
Blueberries are a tasty fruit with numerous health advantages. You do, however, want to make the most of your blueberries. When determining whether a blueberry is terrible, consider its overall appearance, skin, color, and texture. Moldy blueberries will not harm you in general, but you should discard them nonetheless.
Overall, blueberries are an excellent addition to a healthy diet and lifestyle, and eating one to two servings of blueberries per day can provide significant health benefits.