Grab any yummy fresh berry and join me.
It’s time to stock the freezer when you have a bumper crop of berries. Where can you find a bumper crop like this? Try a local you pick farm or better, yet do what we do in NC and get out there in the wild and pick your own. We picked wild blackberries just a hop, skip and a jump down our road (okay, a few miles to be exact) and it was FREE. We made family memories, continued our summer family tradition and shared our best pickin’ tips here.
Once you have all your berries washed like ours. Drain them for a while. Go take a break for a couple hours and let the delicious fruit drain as much water as possible.
Then layer your berries in a single layer. Plan to use a 9×13 pan that will fit into your freezer. You will use this pan for par-freezing (or partially freezing) or flash freezing. These are common terms for individual freezing. Why would you want your berries individually frozen? For fruit smoothies, cobblers, yogurt, muffins and more. Just imagine a big clump of iced fruit. That’s what you get when you wash the fruit without draining well and sticking it straight in the bag (can you imagine who’s done it before? not me).
So you got a pan to fit your freezer yet? Grab some foil or wax paper and begin layering the berries in a single layer. They can be tight, but not piled.I layered three levels with two pieces of foil.
I let it freeze overnight (or several hours), but don’t forget about it or you will have frost bitten fruit. The next morning I break a part the individual berries with my hands.
Working quickly, I bag the fruit in labeled quart size bags. Each bag is filled to the brim with the air pushed out and these will go into our next batch of berry smoothies with my crock pot yogurt (recipes coming soon).
Squeeze out excess air as you dip into these fresh berries from your freezer. This will keep it fresher with less freezer burn. Vaccum seal for longer term storage or a simple straw sucking out the air works, too. Nearly close the bag with an opening small enough for a straw and human vacuum seal it by sucking in the air and not a seed:)
Foods made with freshly frozen berries make fantastic gifts. Imagine the possibilites…
Have you frozen berries before? Did you have a good experience?
Linked to Finer Things Friday.