Tips on how to find the best, most fresh blueberries when you are shopping at the grocery store. Also some tips on how to store blueberries when you get them home.
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Little balls of juicy goodness.
The color. What else do we eat that is blue (and no blue M&M's do not count!)?
We Americans love our blueberries and why not? They are more American than apple pie. Blueberries are native to our soil. Pancakes and muffins have never known a better addition than the blueberry.
That doesn't mean that everything is all "blueberries and cream". Often we go to the store and pick some out, not knowing whether we are headed to blueberry nirvana or extreme disappointment. My goal today is to help stir your experience more toward the former and less toward the latter.
Let's learn how to find good blueberries at the store.
?? Many States
One of the challenges of finding good blueberries in the store is all the locations blueberries are shipped in from. No other berry is grown commercially in more places.
Nearly all the blackberries are from Mexico.
The raspberries are a mix between Mexico and California.
Strawberries are the same with a significant crop from Florida.
The blueberry. I have seen them from California, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, New Jersey, Michigan, Maine, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, Chile, Argentina, and I am sure some that I forgot. That really is quite a selection of places. Forget the berries, I can't think of any produce item in the major grocery stores that comes from more places. That is a testament to the blueberry and it's popularity.
Since blueberries are from so many places, the quality can vary quite a bit. Knowing when blueberries are in season will help.
? How to Find Good Blueberries
When selecting blueberries here are some things to look for:
- Wrinkle free
The whitish color that surrounds fresh blueberries is called bloom. This is the natural protection of the fruit. You will know the blueberries are fresh if you see this in the package. As times goes on this will naturally fade away. Also it's easy to whip off with your hands. If the blueberries are handled too much it will be gone as well.
Size isn't always an indicator of quality. I do have to say that really small berries are almost always go to be on the tart side. I tend to find that the biggest berries are sweet and my favorite. It is not an exact science. I tend to buy large sized berries especially if their bloom is still intact.
You never want to see pink on the berries (unless they are the pink lemonade blueberry variety). This means the berries left the bush prematurely - compromising both flavor and sweetness.
Any blueberry that is wrinkled is surely old. The texture will be mush. Unless they are going straight into smoothies and are super cheap, leave the fruit at the store.
? How to Store
The blueberries come in the perfect storage vessel for them. Just place them in the fridge as soon as you get them home. They won't last nearly as long at room temperature.
In the fridge they can last from anywhere from 7-14 days depending on how fresh they were in the first place.
? Best Price
The best price I have seen on blueberries happen here in Michigan during the month of July where 2 pounds of berries can go as low as $2.99!
? Dried Blueberries
When you aren't finding good fresh blueberries in the store, you can always pick up some dried ones. I love dried blueberries. I use them in recipes like I would raisins. I especially love the dried wild blueberries found at Trader Joe's - they are pricey but worth it to get your blueberry fix in the winter.
In the summer time when blueberries are in season here in the mitten state, I buy them buy the tons. $3.99 for a 2 pound clamshell container is not unheard of, with pints being around a $1. That is a great excuse to use them in as many recipes as I have time for.
Pancakes are always a must. Here are some recipes that I have featured on the blog in past years: