5 Ways to Use Blueberries this Season

blueberries

Written by Stacy K, Contributing Writer

Full of flavor, sweet and nutritious, a blueberry in season is one of summers greatest pleasures.

Fresh blueberries are delicious on their own and need no special preparation. However, they do go bad quickly, so it’s important to have a plan for using and storing them in order to minimize waste.

Below are 5 simple ways to use blueberries this season:

1. Add blueberries to food you are already preparing

Blueberries are an excellent addition to smoothies, pancakes, yogurt, muffins and as part of a fruit salad. They are also great in a bowl of oatmeal and tasty sprinkled over leafy greens.

Tip: When storing in the fridge, don’t wash the berries until you need to use them. They will last longer.

2. Make Blueberry Sauce

Blueberry sauce is delicious served over pancakes, ice cream, sorbet, cakes and pies (and many other things, I’m sure!).  The sauce can be made with blueberries and sucanat only, however, adding a little molasses and lime really enhances the blueberry flavor.

The follow recipe is adapted from Deborah Madison’s, Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.

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Blueberry Sauce

3 cups blueberries, washed, with stems removed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons molasses
¼ to ½  cup of sucanat
Juice of 1 lime

Rinse berries and place in a medium saucepan. Add molasses, cinnamon, and ¼ cup sucanat. Bring to a boil, stirring now and again. Once the berries are soft and have released their juices, taste to see if more sucanat is necessary and add accordingly. Pour in the lime juice and stir.

Strain out the berries if you like a thin syrup, or leave the berries in for a thicker sauce with texture. Serve warm or chilled.

3. Freeze or dehydrate for future use

How to Freeze Blueberries:

Freezing blueberries is my favorite way to store them. It is simple and doesn’t require any special tools.

Frozen blueberries can be thawed to make sauces and jams, and may be added to muffins in their frozen state (then they won’t make the entire muffin batter purple!). Frozen blueberries are wonderful in smoothies and are a delicious snack all on their own.

Stephanie has already demonstrated how to freeze blueberries. If you find they are freezing in a clump, lay a tea towel on a baking sheet and spread berries over it in a single layer, then place in the freezer. Once frozen solid, store blueberries in a ziplock bag or air-tight container. Freezing this way will ensure they remain loose so you can scoop out the desired amount.

How to dehydrate blueberries:

To dehydrate blueberries, wash the berries then blanch them for 30 seconds in boiling water. Blanching helps the blueberries dry more evenly and retain a softer texture. (Shannon shares more details about blanching blueberries for dehydration at Nourishing Days.)

Place berries in the dehydrator and dry at 130 to 135 degrees, until leathery. Store in an airtight container.

In some parts of the country, it is possible to dry blueberries in the sun. One commenter said she uses cookie sheets to dry blueberries on the dashboard of her car!

4. Make Blueberry Jam

Making jam is one of the most popular ways to use fresh berries. It is a simple process and takes very little time.

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My preference is to make freezer jam since it retains more of the fruit’s nutritional value and taste (and it is much quicker than canning). I recently made the raw, naturally sweetened freezer jam from Passionate Homemaking, and was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was. (Note: If using honey as the sweetener, be aware that it does have a very strong flavor. If you don’t like honey, try sucanat instead.)

Whether making raw or cooked jam, be sure to check out Pomona’s Pectin; natural pectin that is free of sugar and preservatives.

5. Make a Blueberry Dessert

There are many ways to serve blueberries for dessert! Simple desserts include ice cream topped with blueberry sauce and Parfaits made by layering blueberries and granola with yogurt. This fruited yogurt dessert is also quick and easy.

Other favorite blueberry desserts include baked goods such as cobblers, crisps, and pies.

The following Berry Crisp has become a new family favorite. I had to make it twice just to get a picture of it!

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Summer Berry Crisp

Filling:
6 cups fresh berries, such as blueberries, blackberries, or hulled strawberries
(I used 3 cups blueberries, 2 cups strawberries, and 1 cup blackberries)
Grated zest of 1 orange
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup sucanat
4 tablespoons arrowroot

Crisp topping:
1 cup rolled oats
½ whole wheat pastry flour
¼ cup sucanat
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon allspice
1/3 cup sliced almonds
¼ cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons maple syrup

To make filling: Place the berries, lemon juice, orange zest, and lemon zest, in a large bowl. In a separate bowl stir together the sucanat and arrowroot, then add to the berries and toss gently to combine. Pour berry mixture into an 8 x 8 inch baking dish.

To make topping: Mix flour, oats, sucanat, allspice, and salt together in a bowl. Add melted butter and maple syrup, stir to combine. Add the nuts and stir again. Sprinkle topping over the fruit.

Bake at 375 degrees F for 30 to 35 minutes. Let the crisp cool slightly before serving to allow the juices to thicken.

What is your favorite way to eat, serve, or store blueberries? Do you have any tips to share with us?

Top image by Brad Harrison

About Stacy Karen

Stacy, a homeschooling Mom of three, enjoys healthy, natural living and is a make-it-from-scratch maniac. She strives to encourage women to find peace and joy at home through her blog, A Delightful Home, where she shares tips and tricks for creating a happy home (and life) with God at its center.

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Comments

  1. We stock up on blueberries when visiting relatives in Oregon each summer. So, we freeze them and enjoy them all year…or as long as they last. Our favorite dessert is to pour milk over frozen blueberries in a cup or bowl. The milk freezes and is almost like ice cream but not as sweet; the blueberries are sweet enough.

  2. Oh, yum. I never would have thought of molasses and lime in blueberry syrup. I’m getting ready to make syrup and jam to freeze. And I second the comment about blueberries and cream. That, or peaches and cream is my horribly decadent dessert that I make for myself late at night. It is sooo good!

  3. Sharon Campbell says:

    I found a recipe in the newspaper. Drop them by spoonfuls into melted chocolate, get them covered well, make sure to group them together and let them dry on wax paper. Store in fridge until ready to eat. Yummy!

  4. Thanks for this fun post. We eat a TON of blueberries and I can’t wait to go pick some with my three year old this summer. My kids’ favorite way to eat them is fresh and by the handful, but fresh and organic is pricey so we mostly use frozen. Thanks again!
    Jess @ OlyMomma

  5. Great post! I <3 blueberries! A lady in her 70s has the best organic blueberry patch about 20 minutes from us…and she sells them for $1/lb.!! We freeze as much as our freezer will hold–and ration them out for the year until blueberry season comes again.

    I am about to make one last blueberry crisp with last year's harvest to make room for this year's!

  6. Wow, so many yummy new things to try.

    Thanks for sharing :)

  7. I love blueberries! I am hoping to have the opportunity to go pick some soon if we have a day that isn’t too hot for my new little one. :)

  8. THANK YOU for this post! I got your ebook last week & as I my make my way through, I’ve been so motivated. I found an organic u-pick place 5 minutes for our farm & the children & I picked 15 quarts for $30!!! :) I froze & put away 22 3 cup baggies. :)

  9. I recently made a blueberry-honey ice cream recipe that I found on Simple Organic…the link is in my last post listed below. It was delicious! I think I’m going to freeze some blueberries now while they’re in season like you suggested…thanks for all the great blueberry ideas!

  10. Danielle says:

    Typically I just put blueberries in my yogurt, or smoothies, but I know my husband would love it I used them in pancakes or made a dessert.
    One thing I would like to try is making the jam… :)

  11. blueberries are wonderful frozen and them used as ice cubes in your favorite drink!!! We also love them in smoothies and plain with heavy cream!!!

  12. yum! this post has me hungry for blueberries. i love adding them to my smoothies. so good! i’m going to have to make the berry crisp for my husband… he would LOVE that!

  13. You forgot our favorite way to eat them – raw, as a snack!

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