Michigan Fresh Blueberries

Enjoying your fresh picked blueberries.

Michigan Fresh grown blueberries will soon be available. Whether you choose to purchase or grow these fruits, they are a great source of vitamins, minerals and fiber to enjoy this summer. Michigan State University Extension recommends that you wash your hands before preparing any fresh produce. The fresh produce needs to be rinsed well with lukewarm water before any further preparation takes place.

Recommended storage and use tips for your fresh blueberries include the following:

  • Purchase fruits that are not bruised or damaged.
  • Wash hands before and after handling fresh produce.
  • Keep away from raw meat and meat juices to prevent cross-contamination.
  • Do not wash blueberries before freezing when using a dry or unsweetened type of packing.

Preserving blueberries

Blueberries can be preserved by canning or freezing. When canning blueberries, choose ripe, sweet berries with uniform color. Wash one or two quarts of berries at a time. Drain and stem, if necessary. Prepare and boil preferred syrup, if desired. Add 1/2 cup syrup, juice or water to each clean jar.

  • Hot pack – Heat berries in boiling water for 30 seconds and drain. Fill jars and cover with hot liquid, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
  • Raw pack – Fill jars with raw berries, shaking down gently while filling. Cover with hot syrup, juice or water, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace.
  • Remove air bubbles and wipe jar rims. Adjust lids and process:
  1. In a boiling water bath canner, process pints or quarts in hot pack for 15 minutes.
  2. In a boiling water bath canner, process pints in raw pack for 15 minutes and quarts for 20 minutes.
  3. In a dial gauge pressure canner it is recommended to hot pack pints or quarts for eight minutes or raw pack pints for eight minutes and quarts for 10 minutes at six pounds of pressure.
  4. In a weighted gauge pressure canner, process pint or quarts in a hot pack for eight minutes at five pounds of pressure or using raw pack process pints for eight minutes, or quarts for 10 minutes at five pounds of pressure.

Let the jars stand undisturbed on the counter for 24 hours; remove rings, check to make sure lids are sealed, wash jars, label, date and store.

Freezing blueberries

When choosing berries for freezing, select full-flavored, ripe berries. Remove leaves, stems and immature or defective berries. Choose your pack type.

  • Syrup pack – Syrup pack is preferred for berries for cook­ing. Pack berries into freezer containers or bags and cover with cold 50 percent syrup (one cup water to one cup sugar), leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Seal, label, date and freeze.
  • Dry pack – Do not wash blueberries before freezing — washing results in a tougher skinned product. Pack ber­ries into containers, leaving headspace. Berries can also be frozen first on a tray and then packed into containers as soon as they are frozen. Seal, label, date and freeze. Wash before using.

Be sure to check out all of the Michigan Fresh fact sheets with recipes, gardening tips and preservation techniques for over 80 Michigan grown foods. Download the free factsheets at msue.anr.msu.edu/program/info/mi_fresh. The goal of Michigan Fresh is to help you and your family eat, preserve, grow and learn about all that’s Michigan Fresh. It’s Michigan Fresh – for you!

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