The Common Mistake That'll Ruin The Blueberries In Your Refrigerator

When blueberry season arrives, your first instinct may be to head to your local U-pick or farmers' market to stock up on pints and pints of these juicy, so-much-better-fresh berries. However, if you fail to store your blueberries properly, you may find that they go bad before you can enjoy every last one. To keep your berries as fresh as possible for as long as possible, you'll want to avoid one of the most common mistakes people make with blueberries: storing them in a way that lets moisture gather.

While you might think that rinsing and then thoroughly drying your blueberries before storing them is enough to keep pesky moisture at bay, you'll want to go a few steps further. After you rinse your berries, lay them out in a single layer on a baking sheet and let them air dry for a few hours. Once completely dry and ready to store, the key is to add paper towels to your chosen vessel — whether that's a zip-top baggie or a container with a lid — between each layer of berries. This can help absorb any extra moisture that might pop up during storage. After you've packed the dry berries as such, you'll want to then place them in the coldest part of your fridge. When stored like this, your blueberries could last as long as several months.

Did your blueberries go bad?

Even with the best intentions, though, your blueberries may still go bad. How do you know if your berries are no longer fit for your favorite blueberry pie recipe or an old-fashioned blueberry buckle?

Some of the signs that blueberries are past their prime include wrinkly skin, a mushy texture, or mold. Blueberry mold will appear as white fuzz — almost like cotton. However, the good news is if you do find a moldy berry or two in your container, that doesn't mean that all your blueberries are done for. If the remaining majority of the berries (75% or more) still look pretty good, you can keep them, so long as you throw out the moldy berries and any berries that would have been in direct contact with them (another way that the paper towel layers can come in handy!). Additionally, while you should never consume moldy produce on purpose, the Mayo Clinic notes that if you only notice a bit of mold once you've already started chowing down on a blueberry-topped salad or similar, you're unlikely to become seriously ill just from one accidental incident.