How to: Clean Low Bush 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.

Before the towel goes on

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.

The towel should be on the rougher side. All the better to catch the stems. The towel should be on the rougher side. All the better to catch the stems.

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.

Mr. Gillis pouring berries onto the towel

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.

The towel catches the majority of grossness. The towel catches the majority of grossness.

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

After the second cleaning and washing. After the second cleaning and washing.

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.

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