If you’ve just brought a bag full of blueberries home; either fresh for the farm or the market, you might be wondering how long do these delightful berries last. If that’s the case, we’ve got you covered!
In this post, we’ve not only discussed how long do these berries last, but we’ve also mentioned some excellent tips on how to keep them fresh and tasty for longer.
Do blueberries go bad?
The simple answer to this question is ‘yes’. Like any other fresh berries or fruits, blueberries will go bad after a certain time.
However, where and how you store the berries also plays a major role in determining blueberries’ longevity. Either bacterial or mold contamination might ruin this delicious berry if stored incorrectly.
You can immediately tell if blueberries have gone bad as the rot or mold is accompanied by a few distinct characteristics. We’ve touched on that more below in this post.
How long do blueberries last?
On store-bought blueberries packaging, usually, you’ll not find any ‘Best before’ date. So, you can use the purchased date if you want to estimate the days remaining before they go bad. However, it is best to purchase berries that have written ‘Best before’ date on the packaging.
These nutritious berries will last you for a few days if left at room temperature. But if you store these berries in a refrigerator or a freezer, you’ll have plenty of time to finish them before they go bad.
|At room temperature||In refrigerator||In freezer||Dried|
|Blueberries||A day or two||5-10 days||6-12 months|
In a refrigerator, they usually last for 5-10 days or even a week. If you freeze the berries, they’ll last you for about a year.
In case you didn’t know, you can even dry blueberries on your own. Doing so will make them last for about a year.
An important tip for you – if stored in moisture-rich or highly humid environment, the berries will go bad a lot faster than you’ve expected them to go.
Now, we know that blueberries don’t last you very long. But later in this post, we’ve mentioned some tips that you can follow to keep them fresh and edible for long.
7 Tips to Tell if Blueberries Has Gone Bad
You can easily tell if you see rotten or moldy blueberries. But if your eyes are not trained to that, here are few tips that will help you differentiate bad blueberries from a good one.
1. Leaking juices
Rotten berries often have juices leaking from them. So, if you see a few cracked and leaking berries, steer clear of them.
2. Mold growth
As mold can quickly spread between berries, if you see white or any colored mold growing on a few of them, you should discard them immediately.
3. Texture and softness
Bad berries are often incredibly soft and mushy. Moreover, the texture of the outer covering is also quite wrinkly and dehydrated comparatively. So, if some berry felt slightly jiggly in your hands, they might be no more edible.
4. Foul smell
Needless to say, anything rotten will be accompanied by a foul smell. So, if the entire container radiates a foul smell, the entire batch of berries might have gone bad. Even if you filter out some good ones, make sure to wash them in a vinegar-water solution before eating.
5. Undesirable taste
Identifying wasted berries is not a complicated task, and you might not need to taste it to determine its quality most of the times.
However, in case of dried blueberries or if you’ve been storing berries for too long and you don’t see any visual changes, your tastebud might come to your rescue. Take a small bite of a berry, and you can decide if its taste has gone weird/bad or not.
6. Frozen spoilage:
If you spot any dry patches or discoloration in your frozen blueberries, it means that frozen burn has begun. It doesn’t make the berries inedible. However, make sure you finish those berries fast before its quality further degrades.
6 Tips to Store Blueberries
Tossing out the entire bag of moldy or rotten blueberries can be heart-wrenching. To save you from such situations, we’ve elaborated some tips on how you can best store your blueberries below.
1. Do not wash them before storing them
Moisture is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to bacterial and mold contamination. On top of that, blueberries are notorious for going moldy in a very short period.
So, it is not a good idea to wash blueberries if you’re not ready to eat them instantly as the protective bloom, that prevents moisture loss in blueberries thus, preventing them from decaying, shouldn’t also be washed away.
2. Check the batch properly before storage
Although stems of blueberries are safe to eat, it’s quite bitter. So, it’s better to pull off the stems before storage.
Moreover, if there are any soft, rotten, or moldy berries in the batch, you must filter them out. Rotten berries increase the overall moisture content within the container; thus, increasing the chances of contamination.
3. Refrigerate the blueberries
If you’re not sure if you’ll consume the berries within a few days, make sure to refrigerate them. Store the berries in a closed container lined with a paper towel or in designated fruit storage containers.
Also, don’t store blueberries in the coldest part of the refrigerator and crispers, as the humidity in such areas is relatively high.
When it comes to berries, one of the essential tips to keep them fresh is storing them in low humidity, yet cool areas. Moreover, the crisper drawer doesn’t provide enough air circulation to berries.
4. Freeze the blueberries if they are overripe
If you brought home a bag full of fresh blueberries direct from the farm, must freeze them in order to preserve them for longer than two weeks.
5. Dry the blueberries
Dry blueberries make an excellent snack. In case you were wondering, you can successfully dry blueberries at your home using a dehydrator or an oven. Boil the berries for a minute or two to crack the outer skin and dry them.
Then, heat the berries in your oven at 140 ºC for 4 hours and make sure to stir every 30 minutes. After the berries are completely dried, cool them down, and store them in an airtight container.
6. Wash with vinegar
To wash the berries, use one-part vinegar and three-part water solution. Vinegar kills and prevents molds from forming. To remove vinegar aroma from the berries, make sure to wash them with clean water at the end.
The Risk of Consuming Expired Blueberries
Blueberries, be it fresh or frozen, are also one of the common sources of food poisoning due to the presence of harmful contaminants; including hepatitis A virus. So, it is a must to consume blueberries, only when they are fresh and properly wash and decontaminated.
When it comes to expired blueberries, you must avoid eating them. Not only they smell foul and taste horrible, but the molds that grow on the berries might also cause allergic reactions or respiratory problems in some individuals.
Moreover, moldy blueberries are more likely to be old and lack nutrition. So, it’s just an unnecessary risk to consume such berries. Thus, if you suspect if blueberries have gone bad or if you’ve stored them for longer than you should’ve, it’s probably best for you to throw them out.
Can you freeze Blueberries?
You can absolutely freeze blueberries if you want them to last for about 6 months to even a year. And if you’re wondering, it is very easy to freeze berries. Start by washing the berries properly, dry them using paper towels, and spread a layer of them onto a tray.
Now, freeze the berries for about 2-3 hours, or until they are completely frozen, and store them in an airtight zip-loc bag. Finally, pop the bag into the freezer, and you are done.
You can even directly use frozen blueberries in your recipes. For instance, if you’re having a shake or smoothie, you can simply drop some frozen clean blueberries onto it.
However, make sure to give the berries a quick rinse if you intend to you it while baking. Doing so will make sure that the berries will not expel too much juice onto the baked item.
Moreover, according to a study conducted at South Dakota State University, frozen blueberries are even healthier than fresh ones.
The tiny ice crystals formed during freezing disrupts the cell structures of the berries, thus making anthocyanin, an antioxidant present within the blueberry skin, more accessible to our system.
The flavor and juiciness of fresh berries are unparalleled. However, if you’ve plenty of blueberries lying on your panty, refrigerate them or freeze them, as we’ve given you plenty of tips on how to do so.
But if you think that you won’t finish these berries before they go bad, you’ll always have the option of baking some delicious pies.