How to clean blueberries

By Natalie Clausen | June 18, 2020 (updated April 21, 2021 )

It’s finally blueberry season! Blueberries are such a versatile berry and they are packed with good stuff. If you’re not taking advantage of them being in season, you need to go get some.

Health Benefits of Blueberries

Before I let you know the best way to clean blueberries before eating them, let’s go over some of the amazing health benefits of the little blue gems.

How to clean blueberries

Here are some of the boons of eating blueberries. Source: drweil.com

  • reverse age-related memory loss
  • anti-inflammatory
  • protect brain from stroke
  • may help prevent cancer
  • protect heart health
  • full of antioxidants
  • good source of fiber
  • reduce oxidative stress in the body

Do You Need To Wash Blueberries?

This is something a lot of people wonder, especially if you’re buying organically grown blueberries.

Even if you do buy organically grown blueberries, you still need to clean your berries really well before eating them. This is because all produce harbors surface bacteria while it’s growing. Produce can also pick up more bacteria during the shipping process.

Obviously, if your blueberries are NOT organic, you really need to give them a thorough wash to clean off as much of the pesticide residue as possible. Although blueberries are not in the EWG’s Dirty Dozen, they are #17 as far as pesticide concentration. So if you can, it’s safer to buy organic. See the full list of produce by pesticide level here.

The method shared here in this article will clean any blueberries, whether they are organic or conventionally-grown.

How to clean blueberriesblueberries with white “bloom”

What’s The White Stuff?

Contrary to logic, the white chalky coating on blueberries is not pesticide. Blueberries, as well as grapes, produce this “bloom” on the surface of the fruit’s skin as a waxy protectant. The bloom seals the moisture in and helps keep pests out.

And it’s harmless to eat, although I find that it can taste a bit chalky if you happen to buy berries that have a particularly heavy bloom on them. That’s one reason I love this method for cleaning blueberries. It helps remove a heavy bloom on the berries for a nice, sweet taste.

How To Wash Blueberries

How to clean blueberries

Follow these quick and simple directions for cleaning blueberries, ridding them of bacteria and pesticides so they can be eaten safely.

We’re sharing our top tips for keeping these favorite summer fruits exceptionally fresh.

Whether you’re buying a pint at the grocery store, loading up at a local farmers’ market, or growing your own in the backyard, these tips will keep blackberries, blueberries, gooseberries, raspberries, and strawberries fresh as long as possible.

How to Choose Berries

Before placing a container in your shopping cart, inspect what’s on the inside. Check for mold, super soft spots, and discoloration on the berries. Blueberries that have shriveled a bit and lack firmness are likely to go bad within a day or two of purchase. Mushy, dark red spots on strawberries and raspberries are also a sign that they’re on their way out. To ensure peak freshness, shop for seasonal produce at the farmers’ market; farmers usually pick produce for sale the morning of, or the day before, the market, which means you’re getting truly farm fresh produce with a longer shelf life.

How to Store Berries

If you’re planning to eat or use the berries within a day of purchasing, it’s fine to leave them covered on a countertop. Otherwise, storing berries in the refrigerator is the best way to prevent them from going bad quickly. Pro-tip: Store berries at the front of your refrigerator so that you don’t forget they’re there.

How to Wash Berries

Most berries should not be washed until they are being used. Excess water can cause premature spoilage for delicate, antioxidant-rich fruits like blueberries and raspberries, even gooseberries. Firmer berries like strawberries are sturdy enough to handle a quick rinse but they also can wait to be washed until they are to be used.

Holding a package of berries under running water is not the correct approach: The pressure of the water can squish berries to squish, particularly if they’re packed on top of each other in a plastic container. Plus, excess water droplets will remain in the package after washing and can cause berries to get soggy. Instead, fill a large bowl with cold water, then gently place the berries in a colander and dip it in the water bath. The result is an even wash that protects the berries’ flesh. Afterwards, transfer the berries to a paper towel-lined, airtight container and place in the refrigerator; choose a larger container so the berries can lay flat in a single layer.

While washing berries in water is a good way to get off obvious dirt and grime, there is a technique that will give an even deeper clean. Since berries grow close to the ground and have a porous, sponge-like flesh, dirt that gets trapped may go undetected even after a quick rinse. To ensure that berries are perfectly clean, dip them in a 3:1 mixture of water and distilled white vinegar. This not only washes the berries thoroughly, but it also extends their shelf life. Avoid soaking the berries in the vinegar and water mixture as berries will begin to absorb the vinegar flavor. Dry gently but thoroughly on a paper or cloth towel.

How Long Will Berries Last?

Stored carefully in the refrigerator, blueberries and strawberries will last five to seven days. Less hearty berries like blackberries, raspberries, and gooseberries last three to five days.

Can You Freeze Berries?

Frozen berries are great to have on hand for smoothies and juices. They’re safe to eat and can keep for months, as opposed to just a few days in the refrigerator. After washing, carefully pat them dry with a paper towel until all excess water has been thoroughly absorbed. Transfer the berries to a freezer bag and lay in a single flat layer, which prevents clumping.

This question has been asked before but only with respect to washing a small container.

We have a friend who runs fruit stands in the summer and we typically get 10 pounds of blueberries at a time from him. Before freezing or eating, they need to be washed, and I always struggle to find an efficient way to get rid of the squished berries, the stems, the leaves, etc.

I’ll post what I do as an answer, but I wonder if there is a better way, or some equipment that would make it easier.

4 Answers 4

When I was a kid, we picked tons of blueberries. We had a frame made out of 1″ x 4″ boards, 2’+ wide and about 4′ to 5′ long. At the far end, the frame was angled towards the middle (narrow side) with a space for the berries to drop into a bucket placed below (maybe 4″ to 6″). On the bottom of the frame we had metal window screen stapled down (no cloth screen back then, not sure if cloth would work). Place a bucket at the one end (narrow tapered end), dump berries at the opposite end, raise the frame on the far end (away from the bucket) enough so that when you gently shake the frame, the berries start rolling towards the bucket. The screen will help hold the smaller leaves in place. Some you will have to raise the frame higher for, some you will have to remove leaves directly attached to the berries. Once the berries are in the bucket, dump the leaves left on the screen and start with the next batch. Always worked well and was very fast. Best with fresh picked berries, unwashed.

What I do is use a big plastic bowl. The bowl is about 18″ in diameter at the top and holds about 2 gallons of water.

I fill the bowl about 1/2 to 2/3 full of blueberries and then fill it to the brim with water and leave the water running into it. As the bowl is filling and when it’s full I gently agitate the berries with my hands.

Most of the chaff naturally floats to the top and spills over the edge of the bowl. As I agitate the berries, I also try to direct any leaves to the edge and pull any berries back from the edge. I lose a few good berries, but not too many and since I’m dealing with a lot of them I don’t worry about it too much.

As I’m agitating the berries, I can feel a lot of the squishy ones and pull them out to look at them and discard if they’re too far gone.

When most of the chaff is gone, I dump the berries into a colander and let them drain. I’ve tried spinning them in a salad spinner, but for the amount of berries I’m trying to process, I’ve found that in order to remove any appreciable amount of water I can only put a small amount at a time in the spinner so it takes forever to spin them all.

So I let them drain, and then since I’m usually freezing these berries, I put some paper towels down on a tray and spread out a layer of berries. When they’re spread out I can pick out most of the squished or shriveled ones that I missed earlier, then I pull the paper towels out and freeze them.

I haven’t ever looked for one, but I’ve always wondered if there’s such a thing as a colander or sieve or screen with really big holes – i.e. just slightly smaller than a blueberry – that I could just dump the berries into and rinse off all the debris.

One big limitation to this technique is that it bogs down if you’re dealing with less than fresh berries. Picking out all the squished or moldy ones if they’ve been sitting around too long is problematic.

How do I get blueberry stains off my hands?

Here’s a little trick I’ve learned to get the stains off of your hands, rather than scrubbing them until your skin comes off: Make a paste of cornmeal and lemon juice. Rub the paste on your hands, let it sit a minute or two and then rinse it off. Easy peasy and you didn’t have to commit chemical warfare on your skin.

How do you get the skin off blueberries?

Then to blanch the fruit, boil it in hot water for two minutes and then remove to a cold bath of ice water. After a minute, the skin will be loose enough to peel off, starting with that ‘X. ‘ Then cut it in half and take the pit out.

How do you remove blackberry stains?

How to Remove Blackberry Stains

  1. Create Pre-Treat Solution. Mix 1 tbsp. white vinegar and ½ tsp. liquid laundry detergent into a quart of cool water.
  2. Soak. Let the fabric soak for about 15 minutes.
  3. Rinse. Rinse thoroughly with cool water.
  4. Re-Wash. Launder the clothing once more to get out any remaining discoloration.

How do you get Apple stains off your hands?

The true answer to apple stained hands is lemon juice. I have just tried it, and it is like magic. I used a few splashes of bottled juice, rubbed it in, and the black/brown was gone, quick rinse and all was good.

How do you get cherry stain off your hands?

Baking soda also works well as an all-around stain remover, even on cherry -stained skin. Wet your hands slightly, and then sprinkle a light coating of baking soda over the stained areas. Rub your hands together over a sink. Rinse the baking soda off, reapplying more as needed, to remove the rest of the cherry stain.

Are blueberries a Stage 1 food?

The Super Food Blueberry – A great Stage One Baby Food. Blueberries are often referred to as a “Super Food ” because they have a whole host of amazing nutrients contained within a tiny package. Blueberries are high in antioxidants and are also thought to reduce cholesterol.

Can I boil blueberries?

In a small saucepan, bring the blueberries, lemon juice, sugar and water to a boil. Simmer and stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until the blueberries have broken down and the texture is thick.

Can you peel a blueberry?

Because blueberries are very perishable, do not wash them until just before consuming or cooking. Blueberries do not need to be peeled, seeded, cored or trimmed before using. Make sure the blueberries are dry and then return them to the container they were in when purchased.

How do you deep clean your hands?

To clean filthy hands easily and thoroughly, pour equal amounts of olive oil and sugar into the cupped palm of one hand, and then gently rub your hands together for several minutes. Rinse thoroughly and dry. The grit of the sugar acts as an abrasive to help the oil remove grease, paint, and grime.

How do you get black walnut stains off your hands?

  1. Make sure to get rid of any loose shell residue.
  2. Extract the juice and rub it in your hands or whatever other area of your skin was stained.
  3. Use a toothpaste with baking soda and an old toothbrush to scrub at the stain using a circular motion.
  4. You can use vegetable oil or olive oil, either will work just fine.

How do you clean dirty hands and nails?

Here are some tips for nails with dirt you can see.

  1. Wash your hands with dish soap. Use dish soaps to clean your hands and nails.
  2. Use job-specific hand soap. Consider purchasing a cleaner specifically made to remove grease and dirt from the hands.
  3. Use a washcloth.
  4. Run lukewarm water.
  5. Use an orange stick.

Are blueberry stains permanent?

Old/Dried on Stains: For old or dried-on blueberry or dark-colored fruit stains, try rubbing glycerin into the stain to soften it first, and then treat as above (lemon juice method). If the stain has been ironed, it may be permanent.

Do you wash in hot or cold water for stains?

Flushing a fresh stain with hot water may seem obvious, but it can have the opposite effect. Hot water can permanently set some stains, particularly those that are protein-based, like blood. Instead, always use cold water.

What stains easily?

10 Common Food Stains and How To Clean Them Quick

  • For quick cleanup, keep the following household items handy:
  • Red Wine. Unlike its white counterpart, red wine creates a tough stain to clean.
  • Tomato Sauce.
  • Pizza Grease.
  • Berries.
  • Coffee.
  • Peanut Butter.
  • Ketchup.

This question has been asked before but only with respect to washing a small container.

We have a friend who runs fruit stands in the summer and we typically get 10 pounds of blueberries at a time from him. Before freezing or eating, they need to be washed, and I always struggle to find an efficient way to get rid of the squished berries, the stems, the leaves, etc.

I’ll post what I do as an answer, but I wonder if there is a better way, or some equipment that would make it easier.

4 Answers 4

When I was a kid, we picked tons of blueberries. We had a frame made out of 1″ x 4″ boards, 2’+ wide and about 4′ to 5′ long. At the far end, the frame was angled towards the middle (narrow side) with a space for the berries to drop into a bucket placed below (maybe 4″ to 6″). On the bottom of the frame we had metal window screen stapled down (no cloth screen back then, not sure if cloth would work). Place a bucket at the one end (narrow tapered end), dump berries at the opposite end, raise the frame on the far end (away from the bucket) enough so that when you gently shake the frame, the berries start rolling towards the bucket. The screen will help hold the smaller leaves in place. Some you will have to raise the frame higher for, some you will have to remove leaves directly attached to the berries. Once the berries are in the bucket, dump the leaves left on the screen and start with the next batch. Always worked well and was very fast. Best with fresh picked berries, unwashed.

What I do is use a big plastic bowl. The bowl is about 18″ in diameter at the top and holds about 2 gallons of water.

I fill the bowl about 1/2 to 2/3 full of blueberries and then fill it to the brim with water and leave the water running into it. As the bowl is filling and when it’s full I gently agitate the berries with my hands.

Most of the chaff naturally floats to the top and spills over the edge of the bowl. As I agitate the berries, I also try to direct any leaves to the edge and pull any berries back from the edge. I lose a few good berries, but not too many and since I’m dealing with a lot of them I don’t worry about it too much.

As I’m agitating the berries, I can feel a lot of the squishy ones and pull them out to look at them and discard if they’re too far gone.

When most of the chaff is gone, I dump the berries into a colander and let them drain. I’ve tried spinning them in a salad spinner, but for the amount of berries I’m trying to process, I’ve found that in order to remove any appreciable amount of water I can only put a small amount at a time in the spinner so it takes forever to spin them all.

So I let them drain, and then since I’m usually freezing these berries, I put some paper towels down on a tray and spread out a layer of berries. When they’re spread out I can pick out most of the squished or shriveled ones that I missed earlier, then I pull the paper towels out and freeze them.

I haven’t ever looked for one, but I’ve always wondered if there’s such a thing as a colander or sieve or screen with really big holes – i.e. just slightly smaller than a blueberry – that I could just dump the berries into and rinse off all the debris.

One big limitation to this technique is that it bogs down if you’re dealing with less than fresh berries. Picking out all the squished or moldy ones if they’ve been sitting around too long is problematic.

Add the blueberries to the vinegar solution and let them soak for 5 to 10 minutes. Drain the blueberries in a colander and rinse them under cool running water for at least 30 seconds while using the friction of your fingertips to clear away any pesticide residue.

Also Know, are you supposed to wash blueberries? Cleaning blueberries before you eat them is an important way to remove mold and bacteria as well as pesticides. The easiest way to wash them off is by rinsing them under a gentle stream of cold water, although you can use vinegar for extra cleaning power.

Similarly, it is asked, how do you wash pesticides off fruit?

5 Super Simple Ways to Get Pesticides Off Your Produce

  1. Give it a Saltwater Soak. Research suggests that soaking fruits and vegetables in a 10 percent saltwater solution for 20 minutes gets rid of most of the residues from the four most common pesticides.
  2. Soak it in Vinegar.
  3. Clean it With Baking Soda and Water.
  4. Wash it With Just Cold Water.
  5. Peel it.

How do you remove pesticides from fruits and vegetables?

How to Remove Pesticides from Fruits and Vegetables

  1. Fill a large bowl with 4 parts water to 1 part plain white vinegar.
  2. Soak the fruit or vegetables you’d like to clean in the mixture for 20 minutes.
  3. Rinse the fruit or vegetables well with water. Studies have shown that washing your produce can reduce the pesticide residue, but won’t eliminate all pesticides.

How to clean blueberries

We are done winnowing the berries. It took about a hour per box, and my wonderful hubby had to set up our winnower on our back porch so he could work thru a rainstorm, but it’s done.

The upside, we can move on to the next phase in cleaning them. The downside, I will be finding blueberry leaves everywhere for days. Possibly weeks- blueberry leaves have a knack for turning up…. well, every where. The glitter of the berry world. But it is a small, tiny annoyance to live with in order to take part in what is The Downeast’s second most valuable commodity.

So, next is the deep clean. This will get rid of the green berries, random stems and other icky-ness.

For this you’ll need:

  • flat surface (For a flat surface, we used our trusty window screen from the winnowing process)
  • A towel that’s a little on the rough side
  • a bowl to catch the clean berries
  • box about 8 inches high
  • A table or counter top to set up on

It is a pretty simple set up. The box goes on one end, the bowl on the other. The flat surface goes on top. The angle that’s created helps move the good berries along to the bowl.

Now, throw that towel on top, and roll up the edges as the picture below shows. The sides being rolled will guide your berries right where they need to go.

We transferred our berries from the big box to much smaller bowl. Now just dump some berries on the towel and go to town. It’s best to do this in small batches, like winnowing.

If you used a window screen like we did, tap the underside gently and the berries will start sorting themselves as they roll down. You’ll still have to pick the bad ones out, but they’re a lot easier to see, and your hands stay cleaner.

It’s a process, for sure, but well worth it when you end up with this-

Well, since that’s done, it is officially time to figure out what to do with your berries. Our berries will be frozen, jammed, sauced and possibly relished. But more on that next time.

So until that time, have a wicked good evening.

Fresh Blueberries are one of my favorite summer fruits, they are sweet and full of nutrients and I use them in smoothies, on top of oatmeal or pop them in my mouth frozen for a sweet, heart-healthy snack.

How to clean blueberries

With only a week or two left in blueberry season, I stocked up on fresh blueberries from the local farmer’s market so I can enjoy these little bits of goodness all winter. I thought it would be helpful to share how I clean and store blueberries so I created step by step instructions on how to clean and store in both the refrigerator and freezer.

Provided at the bottom of this post, are quick tips on how to incorporate more blueberries into your food. I eat them as a snack and use them in so many easy recipes.

Here are step by step instructions on how to clean and store blueberries:

How to clean Blueberries:

Wait to wash berries until you are ready to eat them.

  1. Put blueberries into a strainer and check for any stems. Most stems should have fallen off on their own.
  2. Turn on cold water and gently rinse blueberries in strainer.
  3. Let the strainer sit under water while you check for any more stems, bugs, etc.
  4. Lay the blueberries in a single layer on paper towels and gently pat the blueberries dry with a paper towel being careful not to squish the blueberries. I allow my blueberries to sit out and air dry, as well.

How to store Blueberries:

  1. Make sure you first check for any moldy or squished blueberries and discard of them. Mold is typically found closer to the stem. By discarding of rotten blueberries you will prevent mold from spreading.
  2. Make sure the blueberries are completely dry to prevent them from molding.

Store Blueberries in Refrigerator:

  1. You can use the original plastic basket the berries came in or anything that has slits in it to allow for adequate ventilation.
  2. *TIP* Line your container with paper towel to soak up any remaining moisture.
  3. Store blueberries towards the bottom of the refrigerator on the second or bottom shelf. Avoid storing on top shelf of refrigerator where it’s the coldest.
  4. Blueberries will last up to a week when stored in the refrigerator.

Store Blueberries in Freezer:

  1. First, freeze the blueberries individually by spreading the berries in a single layer across a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  2. *TIP* Avoid using metal when possible as blueberries can react with the metal leading to discoloration.
  3. Place the baking sheet covered with blueberries in the freezer for roughly 3 hours or until completely frozen.
  4. Once frozen, scoop blueberries in a freezer safe ziplock bag. Make sure the bag is closed completely and put in freezer.
  5. The berries will be good for up to one year
  1. Use the original plastic basket the berries came in to allow for adequate ventilation.
  2. Line your storage container with paper towel to soak up any remaining moisture.
  3. Avoid using metal when possible as blueberries can react with the metal leading to discoloration.

Quick TIPS on how to incorporate more blueberries into your food:

  1. Use fresh or frozen blueberries to whip up a quick and easy smoothie. Click here for my Blueberry Coconut Vanilla Smoothie made with Blissful Blueberry BNUTTY Peanut Butter.
  2. Include blueberries in your breakfast or snack by topping yogurt, pancakes, granola, oatmeal, or cereal.
  3. Bake them into muffins and breads.
  4. Mix blueberries with your salad.
  5. Pop them in your mouth frozen for a sweet, heart-healthy snack.

Try these quick and healthy recipes:

Blueberry Coconut Vanilla Smoothie made with Blissful Blueberry BNUTTY Peanut Butter

How to clean blueberries

Please comment below and share with me how you incorporate berries into your recipes! I love your feedback!!

Thank you for following along! Xoxo, Becca @ The Well Dressed Kitchen