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How to Store Blueberries So They Stay Plump and Juicy For Longer

Two photos, one of a woman's hand washing blueberries, another of blueberries in a container, a glass dish and a roll of aluminum foil

Berry season is here! And if blueberries are your jam (See what I did there?), you probably enjoy tossing them on your morning yogurt, into a smoothie or directly in your mouth.

Whether you’re picking from your own blueberry bushes, hitting up the local u-pick farm, or enjoying this seasonal fruit from your local market, there are a few things you should know about storing them fresh. It only takes a few minutes to ensure your blueberries stay plump, juicy and sweet for days.

Close up of blueberries

It’s always disappointing when you’ve got blueberries on your mind, and you go to grab some only to find moldy purple blobs or wrinkly blueberry stones.

It’s a whole other level of disappointment when you’ve grown them yourself or spent the time to go somewhere and pick them. Storing fresh blueberries correctly is essential if you want to avoid this kind of crushing disappointment first thing in the morning when making your breakfast smoothie.

Luckily, it only takes a few minutes of prep work to make fresh blueberries last. Follow these steps as soon as you get your blueberries home, and you’ll enjoy them for weeks rather than days.

Inspect and Remove Damaged Blueberries

Cup with damaged blueberries in it

Before you do anything else, pick over your blueberries and remove any that are damaged, moldy, or overripe. You don’t want to eat those anyway. These little buggers will cause the other berries around them to spoil faster.

Don’t Wash the Berries Until You’re Ready to Use Them

Hand washing blueberries in water

One of the worst things you can do with fresh berries is wash them and put them in the fridge. It’s always best to wash blueberries just before you eat or cook with them. Excess moisture can lead to mold growth and a shorter shelf life. And depending on where you store them in your fridge, the leftover water can freeze, causing mushy berries.

Refrigerate Immediately

Blueberries, a dish and a roll of aluminum foil sitting on a table.

Place the unwashed blueberries in a clean, dry container. Choose a large, shallow dish as opposed to something deep. Berries are delicate and bruise easily. Once you begin heaping them on top of themselves, you will inevitably crush the berries at the bottom. Seal the container with a lid or airtight wrap and tuck them in the fridge as soon as possible.

U-pick Tip

If you plan on picking blueberries at a farm, pack a cooler with ice packs to put your berries in for the ride home. Cooling the sun-warmed blueberries off and keeping them cool until you get home will ensure they last longer.

Ideal Temperature and Humidity

Blueberries need appropriate temperature and humidity if they’re going to last more than a few days. As I’ve just noted, the refrigerator is the best place to store them. However, where you put them in the fridge is just as important. If you have a spot in your fridge that gets especially cold, don’t store your blueberries there. Your crisper drawer is the best location for blueberries.

Let Your Blueberries Breathe

Glass dish filled with blueberries, covered by a sheet of aluminum foil with holes poked in it.

Blueberries should be stored in a container that allows ventilation. You don’t want moisture or condensation to build up, which can cause moldy berries. Storebought blueberries already come in packaging with vents. If you use plastic wrap to cover your container, poke several small holes in it. Even better, use foil, as it’s easy to recycle or reuse and much easier to poke holes in.

Keep Them Out of the Sun

We often forget about light as a factor in spoilage. While those blueberries might look great in your fancy ceramic berry bowl under the golden sunlight splashed across your counter, they’ll spoil much faster. Again, the best place for blueberries is in your nice dark, cold fridge.

Eat Them

A dish of yogurt topped with blueberries and pumpkin seeds

I know, this whole article is supposed to be about extending how long you have to eat them. But like all produce, blueberries taste best when eaten right away. You’ve got about a week before the flavor and texture begin to decline. I’m not saying they’ll go off a cliff once you hit that 7-day mark, just that you’ve got a short window before “Oh my gosh, amazing blueberries!” becomes, “These are pretty good blueberries.”

If you need some ideas on what to make we’ve got quite a few.

Freeze Them

Blueberries spread out on a baking sheet ready to be frozen

If you’ve got plans to make jam or preserve the berries in another manner but can’t get to them right away, you can always freeze them. While freezing the blueberries will inevitably lead to soft, squishy blueberries once they thaw, it’s better than losing them to spoilage.

If you’re curious about why frozen blueberries always end up soft, you can read about it here, where I show you how to freeze blueberries so they don’t stick together.  

Don’t Store More Than You Need

I am terrible at this one. I always overestimate how many blueberries I will eat fresh. To help minimize food waste, only store as many fresh berries as you think you’ll eat in a week. You can easily freeze the rest and not feel guilty about pitching wrinkly blueberries in your compost later.  

Remember, fresh blueberries are one of those “highly perishable” perishables, so they need a little TLC when handling and storing them. But the reward for your extra care is berries that are just as tasty as the day you picked them a week or even two later.

Blueberries growing on a bush

Finally, the best way to store fresh blueberries for eating is right on the bush. If you’ve got the space, consider growing these delicious berries yourself. We’ve got all the secrets to a great blueberry harvest, from proper pruning to when to fertilize them.

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Tracey Besemer

Hey there, my name is Tracey. I’m the editor-in-chief here at Rural Sprout.

Many of our readers already know me from our popular Sunday newsletters. (You are signed up for our newsletters, right?) Each Sunday, I send a friendly missive from my neck of the woods in Pennsylvania. It’s a bit like sitting on the front porch with a friend, discussing our gardens over a cup of tea.

Originally from upstate NY, I’m now an honorary Pennsylvanian, having lived here for the past 18 years.

I grew up spending weekends on my dad’s off-the-grid homestead, where I spent much of my childhood roaming the woods and getting my hands dirty.

I learned how to do things most little kids haven’t done in over a century.

Whether it was pressing apples in the fall for homemade cider, trudging through the early spring snows of upstate NY to tap trees for maple syrup, or canning everything that grew in the garden in the summer - there were always new adventures with each season.

As an adult, I continue to draw on the skills I learned as a kid. I love my Wi-Fi and knowing pizza is only a phone call away. And I’m okay with never revisiting the adventure that is using an outhouse in the middle of January.

These days, I tend to be almost a homesteader.

I take an eclectic approach to homesteading, utilizing modern convenience where I want and choosing the rustic ways of my childhood as they suit me.

I’m a firm believer in self-sufficiency, no matter where you live, and the power and pride that comes from doing something for yourself.

I’ve always had a garden, even when the only space available was the roof of my apartment building. I’ve been knitting since age seven, and I spin and dye my own wool as well. If you can ferment it, it’s probably in my pantry or on my kitchen counter. And I can’t go more than a few days without a trip into the woods looking for mushrooms, edible plants, or the sound of the wind in the trees.

You can follow my personal (crazy) homesteading adventures on Almost a Homesteader and Instagram as @aahomesteader.

Peace, love, and dirt under your nails,