Post by Contributing Writer, Katie
Blueberries are in season! I love the sweet flavor that bursts into your mouth when you bite into them. If you are blessed to live near a blueberry patch, now is the time to harvest and preserve them. I went blueberry picking a few weeks ago and brought home 12 pounds! My only regret is that I didn’t have time to pick more.
The taste isn’t the only thing blueberries have going for them; they are also packed with nutrients and antioxidants like Vitamins C, A, E, K, B12, potassium, manganese and magnesium. That’s just naming a few!
Because of blueberries’ antioxidant power, they may help prevent cancer-causing cell damages of the body. It is thought that the pterostilbene (another antioxidant) found in blueberries helps to lower cholesterol. These benefits are just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many other amazing health benefits found in blueberries.
The high percentage of Anthocyanins present in blueberries are known to reduce cancer and heart disease in humans, it is also thought to combat E. Coli.
Blueberries are great to have on hand all year long, try one or all of these methods for preserving them!
One of the fastest and easiest ways to save blueberries is to freeze them. As long as they are grown without pesticides and not covered in dirt, there is no need to wash them. Unless you want your blueberries to come out in one large frozen clump, you need to flash freeze them.
Place the blueberries on a towel-lined cookie sheet and freeze them for about an hour or until they are frozen. Once they are frozen, pour them in a gallon-sized freezer bag and lay flat on a shelf in your freezer. After they are completely frozen, you can layer other bags on top.
Whenever you want to use the berries, there’s no need to defrost them; they are perfect to add to smoothies, pancakes, scones, or pies.
Drying blueberries is very simple if you have a dehydrator. They take up little room, making them a cinch to store. Like with freezing, I don’t bother to wash them if they are free of dirt and pesticides.
Lay your berries on the dehdrator trays and turn the heat to 135 F. The entire drying time will take about 35 hours. Store your dried blueberries in the container of your choice. You can add them to trail mix, pancakes, muffins or your oatmeal.
Canning is a great way to preserve blueberries when you are short on freezer space. You can make them into jams, jellies, syrups and pie filling. I love warm blueberry syrup over the top of oatmeal or pancakes! Pomona’s Pectin allows you to make low sugar jams sweetened with fruit juice, honey or sugar. Here is a great tutorial on making low sugar jams. If you don’t want to can your jam, you can always make freezer jam!
If preserving blueberries isn’t for you, try some of these amazing recipes!
Katie is a dorm “mama” to 12 amazing girls ages 8 to 18 at a home and school for the Deaf in Baja California, Mexico. She and her “hijas” can be frequently found in the kitchen, the garden or making friends with their new chickens. She loves to read, hike the hills near her home and spend time with her girls. In her spare time Katie blogs at Nourishing Simplicity about nourishing foods, herbal remedies, simple living, raising her girls and encouraging other women in their walk with Christ.