Stock Your Freezer – Freezing Berries
My strawberry and raspberry plants are going great guns this year. I spent Saturday picking (and eating) several cups of sweet berries and I have 4 cups left. Since I have more to pick, freezing those berries is the perfect thing to do to preserve my harvest.
This patch of strawberry and raspberry plants is on a hillside in my less than ideal yard. It has worked well to grow them vertically because, as previously mentioned, I’ve promised not to whine, and instead make the best of what I have.
You should pick your berries every day during the harvest season. That will keep your hard work from getting eaten by slugs and other critters. To preserve your berries in small batches try this method:
Wash and strain your berry harvest. It is not necessary to add sugar.
Lay them flat on a cookie sheet. Try not to have them touch. Place them in the freezer, uncovered, laying the berries flat, for at least one hour. Keeping them uncovered in the freezer for more than two hours might cause freezer burn, so do this when you have time to process it.
Once they are frozen, transfer them to plastic freezer storage containers and place them back in the freezer. After one hour I still had a few unfrozen berries in the middle of the cookie sheet. I promptly ate them!
Since you took the time to freeze the fruit individually, you can remove what you need and store the rest. Freezing berries is a great skill to know for harvesting from your garden and implementing small batch preserving in your food storage plan.
In years past, I’ve purchased a bulk buy of strawberries in 5-gallon pails. I used this method for preserving them to make jam. This works especially well if you live in a hot climate and want to wait for a cooler day to get your water bath canning done.
- Wash and clean your berries (or buy them already cleaned)
- Strain them to get rid of as much water as you can.
- Put them in a large bowl and mash the berries
- Measure out the number of cups of berries you will need to make a batch of jam (look at the pectin box)
- Place them in a freezer bag. You can use a plastic freezer or food saver bag.
- Measure out the number of cups of sugar your will need for your batch of jam (I like to use a low sugar recipe)
- Place those in the bag with the berries
- Make a note on the bag – number of cups berries and sugar, and the date frozen
- Lay the bag flat to freeze, it takes up less space
Next time you want to make a batch of berry jam (or shortcake), just unthaw your frozen berries and proceed with the recipe.
Have you been successful using frozen berries? Post a comment below.