Cooking School

How to select, store and cook with blueberries this summer

By: Gilean Watts and the Canadian Living Test Kitchen

Photography by Jeff Coulson Author: Canadian Living Credits: Photography by Jeff Coulson

Cooking School

How to select, store and cook with blueberries this summer

By: Gilean Watts and the Canadian Living Test Kitchen
How to select
Look for berries that are deep blue in colour, which indicates maximum sweetness. Take a peek at the bottom of the carton to check for blue or purple stains—this indicates that the berries at the bottom are older and crushed.

How to store
When stored properly, blueberries should stay fresh for up to a week. Hold off on washing berries until you’re ready to eat them, otherwise the moisture will cause them to deteriorate quickly. Refrigerate the berries in a wide shallow container or colander rather than a deep one to prevent the berries on the bottom from crushing under the weight of the other berries. To absorb excess moisture, lay a sheet of paper towel on the bottom of the container or colander, and cover the berries loosely with plastic wrap.

To freeze blueberries, rinse and let dry in a single layer on paper towels. Once dry, arrange in a single layer on rimmed baking sheets and transfer to the freezer until solid (this keeps the berries from sticking to each other once they’re in the container). When the berries are solid, you can then transfer them to a freezer-safe airtight container, where they’ll last for up to a year.

How to eat

It’s hard to beat a bowl of fresh blueberries with a little milk and sugar, but when the season hits, these little gems are plentiful—and with their short shelf life, you want to use them up fast. Here are a few of our favourite ways to enjoy these peak-season berries.

Easy Blueberry Lemon Spread

There’s no need for a canning kit to make this small-batch blueberry preserve—all you need are blueberries, lemon, sugar, salt and a saucepan! This delicious spread adds a taste of summer to everything from ice cream to biscuits for weeks after the berry season ends.
easy blueberry lemon spread

Triple-Berry Chocolate Tart

Fresh blueberries, raspberries and blackberries shine in this chocolate tart. A ganache filling gives this dessert a sophisticated look and taste, but it’s super-simple to make: All you do is pour hot cream over chocolate and whisk until smooth!
triple-berry chocolate tart

Blueberry Cornmeal Cobbler

Blueberries and cornmeal have long enjoyed each other’s company in muffins, but this twist on a classic summer dessert brings the two together in the best possible way. The cornmeal adds a slight crunch and extra sweetness to the cobbler topping.
blueberry cornmeal cobbler

Blueberry Lime Shortbread Squares

Sweet-tart lime brings out the best in juicy blueberries. A buttery shortbread crust gives these squares a melt-in-your-mouth texture, while the pecan crumble topping offers nice crunch.
blueberry lime shortbread squares

Blueberry Cream Pops

Take the heavenly combination of blueberries and cream to a whole new level with these tasty ice pops. If you don’t have pop moulds, feel free to use small paper cups or ice cube trays.

Blueberry Cream Layer Cake

What better way to savour perfectly ripe berries than layering the cooked fruit between fluffy vanilla cake and freshly whipped cream? This stunning dessert is sure to leave your guests impressed.
blueberry cream layer cake

Blueberry Lemonade

Sip on this berry-licious summer drink as-is, or turn it into your signature summer cocktail by stirring in a splash of vodka or gin.
blueberry lemonade

Blueberry Barbecue Finishing Glaze

The sour-sweet flavour of blueberries lends itself beautifully to savoury uses, too, such as in this colourful barbecue sauce. Fresh garlic and balsamic vinegar balance out the fruity flavour and keep this sauce out of dessert territory.
blueberry barbecue finishing glaze

Roasted Blueberries

Roasting brings out the inherent sweetness and dramatic colour of fresh blueberries. Plus, it breaks them down into a chunky sauce that is delicious served over ice cream, yogurt or French toast.
roasted blueberries

Got a sweet tooth? Find five of our best berry desserts here.
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Cooking School

How to select, store and cook with blueberries this summer