Tuesday, January 15, 2013

When Bad Produce Happens to Good People - Blueberries

Has this ever happened to you? Sure it has.

Underripe blueberries, moldy blueberries, tasteless blueberries.  What to do?

Blueberries have numerous health benefits and, under ideal conditions, wonderful flavor. If your box of blueberries falls short, don't throw it away! Instead, examine the box carefully and throw away any moldy berries.

Let the sorting begin!

Then wash and dry those remaining flavorless or wizened berries (be sure to do this only after you've eliminated the blechy ones - you don't want to wash the mold onto innocent bystander berries) and freeze them. Be sure to use high-quality freezer bags: this is no time for flimsy bags that are likely to pop open and spill their contents or get filled with freezer burn.

Just chillin'

Then what? Then use the berries, of course!

Don't expect good results for sprinkling them on your Wheaties or fruit salad, but for many purposes they're surprisingly good.

Heating the berries - to make a blueberry sauce, jam or syrup, for example - will help them release sweetness. Of course you could pick over the container, wash the berries and then use them right away for these purposes, but freezing the berries buys you time in case you don't want to use them right away.

You could also use them for muffins, pancakes or oatmeal. Whenever I buy blueberries, I eat as many as are palatable right away, and I freeze the also-rans for my oatmeal. I don't add sugar to my oatmeal but the blueberries taste pretty sweet - much sweeter than they did in their earlier incarnation. The freezing also limits their inky blue sprawl, so pancakes and oatmeal do not end up as soggy as they sometimes can get when chock full of berries.

Almost a smiley face

Of course, frozen berries are also great for anything ice cold or frozen - sorbet, smoothies, even as a decorative element for ice cubes. Turn your unprepossessing produce into treasures!

What about other produce purchases that you are tempted to file under M for Mistake? Stay turned for future episodes of When Bad Produce Happens to Good People. 

1 comment:

  1. Great idea! I've frozen bananas for smoothies but I've always cut my losses with other fruit. Using the blueberries makes sense because I usually end up adding lots of other things to my smoothies so even if the blueberries aren't that sweet they add flavor and an appealing color. I am going to try this with other berries too.