How Long Do Blueberries Last?

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If you’ve ever wondered how long blueberries last, I’ve got you covered. 

Here at our house, we eat blueberries year-round. We eat them in smoothies and juices, we use them for pan sauces, syrups, and desserts. Yes, we make lots of blueberry desserts.  In fact, the combination of lemon and blueberry is my hubby’s favorite. 

In this article, we’ll discuss the shelf life of blueberries as well as how to buy, wash, and store them. Oh, and we’ll answer a few related questions as well. You know, the frequently asked ones! So let’s get started!

How Long Do Blueberries Last?

Blueberries are highly perishable and can technically be stored at room temperature or the refrigerator. 

Freshly picked and store-bought blueberries will last anywhere from 1 to 14 days depending on how fresh they were when you brought them home and how you stored them. Here’s what you need to know.

How Long Do Blueberries Last Out Of The Fridge?

If your berries are freshly picked, you could probably store them at room temperature for 2 or 3 days. But if you live in a hot, humid climate, your blueberries will last maybe 1 or 2 days if stored at room temperature. 

Even though you can technically store blueberries at room temperature for a few days, it is best to store them in the fridge. Here’s why.

How Do You Keep Blueberries Fresh In The Refrigerator?

Blueberries properly stored in the fridge can often last 7 to 14 days.

Their shelf-life depends on how fresh they were when you brought them home and whether or not you took the necessary steps to refrigerate them properly.  

In order to prepare your blueberries for storage in the fridge, you need to make sure you remove any spoiled berries. 

Before we discuss what constitutes a spoiled berry, let’s talk about eating out of date berries. 

Is It Ok To Eat Out Of Date Blueberries?

I have been grocery shopping for over 37 years and I don’t ever remember seeing blueberries with a sell-by, best-by, or use-by date. I’m not saying they don’t exist, but here in my neck of the woods, I’ve never seen them. 

Just remember…when consuming berries, it is safer and more cost-effective to discard any and all berries that have gone bad. 

A trip to the doctor costs a whole lot more than a new clamshell of blueberries!

Next, let’s tackle a frequently asked question…

What Is the White Stuff On Blueberries?

If you’ve ever purchased blueberries that look like they have a greyish, white coating on them, don’t worry. It’s actually a good sign! Why you might ask?

Well, this natural coating on blueberries is called “bloom” and for you brainy types, scientists refer to it as epicuticular wax.

The epicuticular wax or bloom serves to protect the blueberries from bacteria and is a sign of freshness.

Now that we know the bloom is good, let’s talk about how you can tell if your blueberries have gone bad. 

How Can You Tell If Blueberries Have Gone Bad?

As we discussed, the bloom is good and is a sign of freshness but that does NOT mean your container has no bad blueberries. 

The first thing you need to do is to carefully inspect your blueberries and remove the following:  

  • Stems and other debris
  • Shriveled or cracked berries
  • Berries with visible signs of mold or fuzz, especially around the stem area 
  • Soft, mushy, or blemished berries
  • Underripe and immature fruit
  • Off-colored berries

Please remember that if you find a blueberry is leaking its juices from a crack or blemish, it is likely overripe and on the verge of going bad.  I would discard these even if they still look plump because bacteria could enter the berry through the cracks. 

Also, be sure to handle your blueberries gently so you don’t damage them!

Once you’ve removed all the stems, debris, and bad blueberries, you’re ready to store them in the fridge. 

Before we look at how to store blueberries in the fridge, let’s talk about washing blueberries.

Do You Need To Wash Blueberries?

Yes, you should always wash your blueberries but only when they are ready to be eaten you are preparing them for storage with a  vinegar-based solution. 

Eating unwashed blueberries can expose you to dirt and toxins that may have been in the soil where they were grown as well as other bacterial from the packaging and shipping process. 

With that said, you should never wash your blueberries until they are ready to be consumed. 

This is because the actual washing process can cause damage to the delicate blueberries.  Once damaged, your blueberries will deteriorate more rapidly. 

Also, the exposure to excess moisture caused by the rinsing process also contributes to faster spoilage. 

How To Wash Blueberries With Vinegar Water

Vinegar has been reported to help prevent mold growth. 

If you prefer to wash your berries before storage, mix together a vinegar-water solution consisting of 1 cup vinegar to 4 cups of water. Need a smaller amount, just use a 1:4 ratio.

For example, if you use ⅓ cup of vinegar, use (4) ⅓ cups or 1 ⅓ cup of water. 

You can use distilled white vinegar or apple cider vinegar. I prefer to use distilled white vinegar because I use apple cider vinegar in more recipes than distilled vinegar.

Items You Need:

Steps To Take

Step One: Carefully remove any stems, debris, and damaged berries as described above.

Step Two: In your bowl or pot, combine vinegar and water in a 1:4 ratio as previously discussed.

Step Three: Carefully place your berries into the strainer. Then dip your strainer and blueberries into the vinegar-water.

Step Four: Very gently, move the berries around in the strainer for a minute or so. 

Step Five: Lift the strainer out of the pot and rinse the berries with cold water. Once again, gently move the berries around to ensure all the vinegar-water solution is removed.

Step Six: Carefully transfer the berries from the strainer onto a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Make sure the berries are in a single layer.

Step Seven: Thoroughly dry off your berries. They are now ready for storage using one of the methods discussed next.

How To Store Blueberries In The Refrigerator

Method One

Step One: Spread your blueberries out onto a baking sheet. Then carefully remove all stems, debris, moldy, crushed, cracked, soft, mushy, leaking berries.

Step Two (optional): Wash your berries in a vinegar-water bath and dry thoroughly. 

Step Three: Put remaining berries back into their clamshell container. 

Step Four: Place berries in the fridge.

If you prefer not to store your berries in their original packaging, here’s the method you need to follow.

Method Two

Step One: Gently spread your berries out onto a baking sheet. Then, carefully remove all stems, debris, moldy, crushed, cracked, soft, mushy, leaking berries. 

Step Two (optional): Wash your berries in a vinegar-water bath and dry thoroughly.

Step Three: Place a double layer of paper towels into the bottom of a storage container. Then add your berries.  

Step Four: Place the berries uncovered in the fridge.

Should I Store Blueberries in the Crisper Drawer?

There are two camps of thought on this one. Some insist on storing berries ONLY in the crisper drawer. 

Others say you should only store them in the coldest part of the fridge and NOT in the crisper drawer.

Here’s my take on it. In my fridge, I have stored berries in both the crisper drawer and the fridge. 

Guess what? I can’t see a major difference in deterioration rates. 

With that said, I always try to store my berries in the crisper drawer unless it is already full, then I will store in the fridge. 

If you’re not sure and eat a lot of berries, experiment with your fridge. Prepare some berries the same way, store half in the fridge and half in the crisper drawer. See what happens. 

If you do this, please let me know what happens!

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Final Thoughts 

When dealing with blueberries remember three things to extend their shelf-life: (1) Always handle with care as they are delicate, (2) Always remove stems, debris, overripe, and damaged berries before storing, and (3) Storing them in the fridge will extend their shelf-life.

Until next time…

Kim

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