When are blueberries in season?
Blueberries have a shorter season than other summer berries, starting around May and ending in August. On the west coast, you might be able to find berries in April that have been grown in covered areas that increase heat.
Ripe blueberries are highly perishable, so you are unlikely to find the best ones at a supermarket. Unripe berries have hints of red or green, however after a few days they will turn blue (but not get sweeter). This makes the quality hard to determine without a taste test. Luckily, they grow well in most parts of the US, so you can usually find them at a nearby farmers' market in summer.
What else is in season?
How to pick
To pick the best blueberries, look for ones that are plump with no wrinkles on the skin (which indicate they are past their prime or going bad). They should be fully blue, however if they have red parts they can ripen a little more after you take them home. If they have white or green parts, they will not continue to ripen.
How to store
Store them unwashed, in a single layer on a plate or other open container in the fridge, lined with a paper towel. This lets you see any berries that have broken, as they will bleed onto the paper towel. Remove the bad berries before they mold.
Many farmers market vendors sell blueberries in a paper bag - remove them from the bag once you get home - it will trap in the ethylene gas which will ripen them and hasten spoilage.
Do not store them in a closed plastic container or bag.
They will last a few days to just over a week in the fridge.
Blueberry problems in baked goods
There are a lot of common problems when baking with blueberries, from sinking to the bottom, using fresh vs frozen, to dying the batter blue. This is all discussed in the article, Blueberry muffins,what could go wrong?
Baking with frozen blueberries
Frozen fruits and up releasing more juices than their fresh counterparts. That means their juice leeches into the batter, discoloring the muffins (or scones, etc).
To prevent this, toss frozen blueberries in flour to absorb any juice on the outside. Then fold the frozen blueberries into the batter while they are still frozen. They will bake up nice and soft, without leeching much of their color.
Recipes & other resources
Get over 75 recipes in this seasonal blueberry recipe collection. It includes everything from classic pies & cobblers, to unique recipes that pair blueberries with corn, peaches, or lavender.
Other seasonal resources:
- Month-by-month seasonal guide
- More berry guides: strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries (and why blackberries are bitter & how to fix it)
- An in-depth analysis of what can go wrong when making blueberry muffins, and how to fix it (like sinking blueberries)