On the counter, blueberries can start going bad in only a couple of days. You can delay the decline for up to 10 days if you store them properly in the fridge or up to eight months in the freezer.
Blueberries are generally low maintenance, but we’ve got a few tips that can help you keep them fresher longer.
Shelf Life Of Blueberries
If your eyes are exactly the same size as your stomach, and you plan to finish your blueberries within the next day or two, you can leave them out on the counter. You don’t even need to change the container you bought them in.
If you want to keep them for a few weeks or even months, you’ll need to store them properly.
Fresh blueberries should last about:
- 2 or 3 days at room temperature
- 5 – 10 days in the fridge
- 6 – 8 months frozen
Whatever your plans are for them, always start by giving your blueberries a quick once-over as soon as you get them home. Separate any mushy, moldy, or shriveled berries from the rest. Throw out the rotten and fuzzy ones.
You can keep the soft ones, but you should separate them from the others. Overripe berries have a higher moisture content, which makes them more attractive to bacteria.
Make sure to handle your blueberries with care. They’re small, fragile, and easy to bruise, so try to keep the jostling to a minimum.
Do Blueberries Need To Be Refrigerated?
The blue is a highly perishable berry. It won’t ripen anymore at room temperature, but it will rot faster in the presence of moisture, humidity, and heat. Blueberries stay freshest if you keep them at cool temperatures with low humidity.
If you don’t want to refrigerate them, we recommend at least covering their container. A paper towel or plastic wrap over the top will help keep excess moisture and humidity at bay for a while at least.
How Long Do Blueberries Last In the Fridge?
Firm, dry blueberries should last about a week and a half in the fridge.
Your crisper drawer is not an ideal blueberry habitat. The humidity there is a bit higher and the air circulation a bit lower than other parts of your fridge.
The top and back fridge areas are also suboptimal. They tend to get a bit colder than other parts, which can damage your berries. The best fridge real estate for blueberries is the middle and bottom shelves.
How Long Do Blueberries Last In the Freezer?
You can freeze blueberries for up to eight months if you do it right:
- Pluck off all the stems.
- Wash the healthy berries in cold water.
- Pat them dry.
- Avoid clumping by spreading them out on a tray to freeze. If you use a metal tray, cover it with a napkin to protect the blueberry skin.
- Blueberries are small enough to freeze all the way through in only a couple of hours. Once they’re frozen, scrape them off the tray, and store them in a sealed Ziploc or freezer bag.
- Check them every few months. If you see any discoloration, freezer burn is beginning to set in, so finish them fast. You can still eat freezer-burned berries, but they’ll be losing quality quickly. They’ll only get mushier and less flavorful with time.
How To Tell if Blueberries Are Bad
Throw out any blueberries that are:
- Foul smelling
When they go bad, blueberries tend to crack open and spill their juices all over the place. Avoid any that are split and leaking.
Mushy or soft berries may just be overripe, but wrinkled or shriveled skin usually points to a rotten berry. Double-check it with a quick smell test. If it smells bad, it’s bad.
If the whole container smells bad, you may have left your blueberries out a bit too long. You’ll probably still be able to salvage a few good ones, but make sure to wash them with vinegar before eating to eliminate any lingering pathogens.
Mold on blueberries is usually white, gray, or green. It will generally look fuzzy rather than powdery. Throw out moldy batches right away.
If One Blueberry Is Moldy, Are the Rest Bad?
Blueberries are infamous for how quickly they go moldy. Once a few mold spores get a hold in one berry, they can spread like wildfire.
If you get lucky and catch the fuzz before it catches on, remove the guilty berry and all its friends.
Mold spreads via contact, so you may be able to save the rest if you take out the moldy berries and any others touching them. The best practice is to toss them all.
What Is the White Stuff on Blueberries?
Here’s some good news: The waxy white stuff on blueberries is a natural protective barrier that’s perfectly safe to eat.
It’s technically known as epicuticular wax, but most people just call it the bloom. The bloom helps keep pathogens and insects out and the delicious blueberry juice in.
As time passes and things brush against the blueberry, its bloom will slowly wear off. That means you can use it to judge the fruit’s freshness. The waxier the blueberry when you buy it, the fresher it probably is.
Can Blueberries Make You Sick?
Blueberries are sensitive to various contaminants that can cause food poisoning. Some of the most common blueberry pathogens include human norovirus and hepatitis A.
These can infect fresh or frozen berries, so make sure to wash your blueberries before popping them into your mouth.
What Happens if You Eat Moldy Blueberries?
Mold is a sign of age. Even if you manage to scrape off the very last spore, the old berry beneath will barely have any nutrients.
Mold can also cause respiratory reactions or allergies in certain people, so it’s better not to risk it.
Are Mushy Blueberries Safe To Eat?
Mush is a different story. Soft, squishy berries are probably just overripe.
As long as you don’t detect any mold or bad smells, mushy blueberries are generally safe to eat. The texture can be grainy and unpleasant, though, so you might want to use them in smoothies, baked desserts, or jams.
How To Store Blueberries
Moisture is the blueberry’s mortal enemy. Although you should wash them before eating, you shouldn’t wash them before storing them.
Moisture attracts mold and bacteria, which can quickly overpower this fragile fruit. Rinsing your blueberries will sweep away contaminants, but it will also get rid of the protective bloom, which can bring on early decay.
Blueberries aren’t afraid of airflow, so don’t be afraid to keep them in their original breathable clamshell container. Any basket-style or ceramic container will work but avoid metal, which can cause weird reactions in the blueberry skins.
Contaminants gonna contaminate, but if you slip a paper napkin into the container, it will help soak up any extra moisture. Dry blueberries are less attractive to tiny terrorists.
If you want to keep your blueberries fresh for longer than two or three days, filter out the bad ones, put a napkin in the clamshell container, and store it on the middle shelf of your fridge.
Moisture can invite infections, so don’t wash them until you’re ready to eat them.
Properly stored blueberries will stay good for about a week and a half in your fridge and about eight months in your freezer.