Monday, May 7, 2012

EASY WAY TO FREEZE BERRIES


Here is just one of the many dewberry hauls we have gotten over the last few weekends.  Sadly "dewberry season" is officially over now.  I got the last couple of buckets yesterday.  Now, what to do with all these berries?  Here is how we do it, a great way to keep them almost as fresh as the day they were picked:

The first thing to do is...




 ...rinse and wash them!  I use this berry colander, which was my Mom's, it's ceramic and supposed to be non reactive with berries, but there were so many, I ended up using a mesh strainer anyway, no problems with reaction.



Once they were washed a few times, I poured them onto a couple layers of paper towels, just to take some of the moisture off.  Then you take some more paper towels...











...and put them on top of the damp berries, gently patting them down.  This takes off some more moisture from the top side. 






Then spread them out in a more or less single layer on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  They can stack a bit it's ok.  I use that new "pan lining paper" from Reynolds but you could use wax paper too, just something that keeps them from sticking to the metal. Once they are all laid out, just put the tray in the freezer as is.


Here is the same sheet pan of dewberries, taken out the next night (you can see that they are a bit frosty from the temperature change).  By doing it this way, they are individually frozen.  They are almost like little "berry marbles", which is exactly what you want them to be like.  They can thaw rapidly so work fast.


Then I simply take a 2 cup measuring cup and fill it to the top.  In this case, I filled it past the 2 cup mark, you know, just to have a little "extra", ha.  Two cups is a great measurement for cooking.  For example, our cobbler recipe (posted soon) uses that, so it's easy to grab one package out of the freezer and be good to go.


At this point, you can put them into whatever package you want, a ziplock baggie, a tupperware container, or as we do here, a vacuum sealer (awesome device, and a must have in your kitchen).  We like the vacuum sealer for long term storage and since there are no berries until next Spring...


...we'll have lots of packages like these in the freezer.  I just wrote the quantity and date on each package and plopped them back in the freezer.  You can use this technique for any berry, and it works great for the delicate ones that might otherwise become a frozen clump a few months later.  Enjoy your berry haul!

12 comments:

  1. I do our blackberries and raspberries like this too...and you know--I have a vacuum sealer that I just can't seem to get the hang of. I need to get it out and play with it during the harvesting down time when everything's not such a rush.

    Happy Monday, guys!!

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    1. Great minds! Ha. You mean the vacuum sealer in general or just with the berries? With the berries, it's a little harder because of the spaces between the frozen berries, you won't get all the air out. I use the manual button and just hold it until I feel as much has gone out as possible and then press seal. As for general usage, I love it, it always seems to work but it does take a bit of practice in the beginning. You'll get there, like you said when you don't have to be as rushed, ha.

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  2. Can't wait for our berry season so I can pick some fresh and freeze or make jam. These look very yummy!

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    1. When is your berry season? Hope it's coming soon! These are very similar to blackberries. They make a heavenly cobbler and though I haven't made jam yet, I'm going to work on that this summer.

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    2. we'll have strawberries in June, raspberries in August and hopefully some blueberries in July. Not sure if we'll have blackberries because deer ate them all.

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  3. Replies
    1. We have ended up with about 30 cups total (I guess about 15 of these bags). Probably a little more since I overfilled each one. But it should keep us in cobblers and maybe some syrup/jelly (Granny posted about that!) for the rest of the year.

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  4. I love that ceramic berry colander. That's something I need. Thanks for the info, that really does seem to be an easier way to do it. The last time I did berries, they froze but when i went to thaw them, they had stuck together and were kind of damaged, when I wanted whole berries, for my pie. I will try it this way. Love your blog by the way. you are doing something my hubby and I want to do in a couple of years.

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  5. Those look so delicious. Post pictures when you make something with them.
    Lisa

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    1. absolutely! I have a cobbler on tap for this weekend. I'll let you know!

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  6. Nice tutorial! This is how I freeze my berries too...and any other fruit/veggies that I want to store in the freezer. We visited a you-pick blueberry farm last summer and made lots of blueberry jelly, then froze what was leftover and they've lasted us til now (only about 2 cups left). I foresee another trip to the farm in our future for June. =)

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    1. Mmmmm....I LOVE blueberries. I definitely see a trip in your future, with more blueberries to last until NEXT year, ha.

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