Blackberries are in season and you bought an extra pack at the farmer’s market. Now you’re wondering how to store them so they don’t go bad so fast. Or maybe you already know you have too many blackberries on handand is looking to freeze them.
Either way, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we talk about storage options, shelf life and spoilage of blackberries. If you are looking for information on any of these topics, you are in the right place. Let’s dive in.
How to store blackberries
Storage guidelines for blackberries are quite similar to their cousins: strawberries and raspberries. The first thing to do, right after you get home with the berries, is go through all of them and discard the moldy and damaged ones. Microorganisms spread on these fruits like wildfire, and one or two bad guys can now make half the pack ready for the next morning.
Well, now you just have great looking blackberries, Should you wash them? Up to you. Many sources suggest avoiding washing fruit until you use it, and that’s the safest option. But if you want to have them ready to use, you can wash them, but be sure to dry them completely before storing.
You should definitely wash blackberries before eating them (RBFA). Transfer to a shallow strainer and rinse carefully under a gentle stream of water. Like you do with blueberries.
Now let’s talk about where the berries should sit. If you’re going to finish the entire package in the same day, the countertop is fine. But if you need more time than that, fridge is the way to go.
When it comes to how to store them in the fridge, there are a few things to remember:
- Make sure the container is well ventilated. Blackberries often come in vented plastic shells, and if you use your own container, make sure they can breathe and moisture can escape.
- Line the packaging with paper towels. They will protect the berries from excessive moisture accumulation at the bottom. This step is optional and only really worth it if you want to keep the fruits longer than 4-5 days.
- Keep the berries from getting crushed. These fruits are soft and very easy to damage. Because of that, they need some sort of protection against that, usually in the form of a container.
For long storage, you can freeze the blackberries or make jam. Pick one that makes the most sense to you.
How to freeze blackberries
You’ve probably bought frozen berries more than once, so you know they freeze pretty well. There are quite a few methods of freezing this fruit, some requiring more work than others.
Down I pass by the simplest method requiring little hands-on time: freeze-dry. If you’re interested in other ways to freeze blackberries, such as canning sugar or canning syrup, check out the North American Raspberry and Blackberry Association (RBFR) website.
Here’s how to freeze dry blackberries:
- Wash and dry. After the water is drained, let the berries sit on paper towels for at least 15 to 30 minutes. After that, pat them dry. That’s important because you want to freeze the berries, not the berries and lots of water.
- Quick freeze fruit. Arrange the blackberries in a single layer on a baking sheet so they are not touching each other. Move the baking sheet to the freezer and leave it there until solid.
- Transfer the frozen berries to containers or bags. Now that the berries are frozen, you can store them together and still be able to pick just a handful. If you are using a freezer bag, remove as much air as possible before sealing it. If desired, add a label with name and date.
- Return the packaged frozen berries to the freezer.
Those frozen berries are best used within about 6-8 months (RBFR), but they should stay good quality-wise for longer.
When it comes to thawing, do it overnight in the fridge or in warm water if you’re short on time. Alternatively, if you are using the blackberries in a smoothie or cooking them on the stove, you can skip thawing.
How long do the blackberries last?
Blackberries last about a day or two at room temperature. If it’s the middle of a hot summer and you leave them on the counter overnight, chances are some of them are coming out in the morning.
If you refrigerate them and follow all of the above storage guidelines, can last up to a week. That, of course, depends on their quality, when they were harvested, and how long they were stored before they were purchased. Generally, try to use them within 3-5 days to obtain samples of the best quality and less spoiled or overripe.
|Blackberries||12 days||4-7 days|
How to know if the blackberries are spoiled?
Fresh blackberries are bluish-black, fairly uniform in color, and plump in appearance. While they are soft, you wouldn’t call them squishy.
Little by little, they lose some of their color and some of their bulbs are no longer plump. They also get super squishy. Such berries, although not at the peak of their quality, can still be eaten. Or add to a smoothie, fruit salad, or make jam.
When it comes to blackberries that you should definitely throw out, here are the signs to look for:
- Mold. Any sign means that the fruit is finished.
- Slime, oozing or crushed juice. If the bulbs appear to be out of liquid or the fruit has been squashed along the way, throw it away.
- Out of smell. It’s unlikely to happen, but if something is wrong when you smell it right, that’s a no-no.