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If I rinse fresh blueberries before I eat them, does that wash off the antioxidants? Why would washing blueberries before freezing them cause tougher-skinned berries?

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The antioxidants in blueberries lie in the berries themselves, not in the pesticides residing on their skin.

Washing them before freezing means that water freezes on the outside. The water crystals puncture the skins of the berries, changing the texture.

  • I don't think pesticides are the only reason we wash fruits and vegetables - or even the primary one, as you seem to be implying. – Cascabel Mar 26 '11 at 8:36
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    It's a major one, though. We do, however, wash some fruits because they have a natural wax on them, and vegetables (for instance, leeks) to get dirt off. – technowizard12 Mar 26 '11 at 20:01
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    ...and bacteria, which is possibly the most important one. You can actually get immediately, definitely sick if you get really unlucky. – Cascabel Mar 26 '11 at 20:30
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    If you want to avoid the skin puncturing, just leave the berries outside to dry for a while and then freeze them.. – notthetup Mar 27 '11 at 16:32

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