Blueberries are not only very popular but it is always ranked in the U.S. diet as a fruit having one of the highest antioxidant content compared to other fruits, vegetables, and spices. These antioxidants are very important in optimizing health and it can provide its consumers the best flavor and outstanding health benefits.
In case you grow blueberries or you have an untouched pack at home, you may wonder: How long do blueberries last? In this post, I am going to discuss blueberries’ shelf life, how to properly store it, and the ways on how to tell it have gone bad. Reading this post will surely encourage you to use up your blueberries to prevent food spoilage.
How Long Do Blueberries Last?
The shelf life of blueberries will solely depend on how you store it. When properly stored, blueberries’ shelf life after they are picked or purchased is approximately 2 to 3 days if you place it on your kitchen counter. However, it can last up to 5 to 10 days when refrigerated and 6 to 8 months inside the freezer.
Like other food items, blueberries will not last for a long period of time if they are not stored properly. It should be noted, however, that blueberries commonly do not have a best before date or use by date on their packaging. In this case, you just have to use the pick date or the date you purchased the blueberries.
If you purchase your blueberries in the market, the package will usually indicate the date the blueberries were packed. For frozen blueberries, however, a best by date will be indicated on the packaging and you should use this date to make a calculation on the day they must be all consumed.
If you have a pack of unused blueberries, now’s the time to put them into use. Check the video below to learn how to bake the wildly popular blueberry cheesecake:
How Do You Store Blueberries?
Blueberries are highly perishable. This is the reason why proper storage is necessary after you have picked them or bought them from the market. The first thing you should always keep in mind is that you should never wash the blueberries before storing them. Doing this will only encourage the growth of mold.
There are many ways on how to properly store blueberries to prevent them from quick spoilage. Coming home from the market, blueberries should be stored directly in a sealed airtight container that keeps away moisture and other harmful contaminants. As mentioned above, rinsing the blueberries is not encouraged in extending its shelf life.
If you want to store your blueberries for long term, freezing them is an option. To do this, spread them on a baking sheet and place it in the freezer for at least an hour or two. After that, you may transfer the berries into an airtight container or a freezer safe bag. In order to defrost, place them in a bowl and let it sit for an hour until it’s soft.
It should be noted that while freezing is an indefinite form of storing blueberries, it might form ice crystals quickly because of the high water content of the blueberries. These frozen blueberries will have more ice crystals content than fruit over time. The reason is that frozen blueberries will eventually dry out and shrink in size.
Proper storage of blueberries is one of the most important factors in terms of its shelf life. Before you store them, you have to sort them. This would mean that you should keep the fresh ones apart from the rancid ones. This will ensure that the rancid ones will not get mixed with the fresh ones, as it may affect the taste of your prepared food.
Another thing to take into consideration is pulling off of the stems. Most of the stems may have fallen off from the blueberries but double-checking the stems won’t do any harm. As you may already know, these stems taste bitter and a lot of people don’t really like them in their blueberries.
It is very important that you do not wash the berries if you are not eating them right away. The only time you should be rinsing it is when you are about to eat them. It is also recommended that you wash the blueberries with vinegar water, as it can kill mold spores and it can help with the disappearance of molds.
How Do You Tell If The Blueberries Have Gone Bad?
Practicing food safety technique and proper hygiene will help in preventing foodborne illness due to consuming a bad batch of blueberries. There are limited ways on how to tell if the blueberries you have are already bad. They are very noticeable and you can do it effortlessly.
If you notice that the blueberries have gone mushy, have a soft texture, or possess some kind of discoloration and bruising, mold will likely to start developing where the stem is originally attached. As mentioned above, if you notice molds in your fruit, you have to throw them away.
As discussed earlier, sorting fresh ones from the rancid ones is very important before storing them. Of course, there are certain health risks related to consumption of spoiled blueberries. This is the reason why proper food safety and enjoying your blueberries before it goes bad is vital.
How long do blueberries last? As discussed above, it solely depends on how it is stored. To summarize, here are some of the important points mentioned above:
- Freshly purchased or picked blueberries can last for 2 to 3 days in your kitchen counter, 5 to 10 days in your refrigerator, and 6 to 8 months inside the freezer.
- Proper food storage includes keeping them inside an airtight container, away from moisture and other contaminants. Freezing them is also an option if you wish to keep them long term.
- The appearance of molds and negative alterations in its appearance are some of the signs to look out for in rancid blueberries.