Learning how to freeze berries using this fast, easy technique was one of the best things I’ve ever done to improve my family’s winter meals. We grow oodles of blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries at our place, and I’m forever looking for ways to allow us to enjoy their homegrown flavor all winter long.
Before learning this technique, I would just toss my freshly harvested berries into a plastic zip top baggie and stick them into the freezer. The trouble was that when I went to use them in a recipe, I’d have to defrost the whole bag just to get a handful of berries. They would be frozen into one, giant mass. But using this technique, I can grab a small scoop of berries for my son’s lunch everyday or a cup of berries for homemade blueberry muffins, without dealing with an entire bag.
How to freeze berries:
1. After harvesting blueberries and strawberries, I remove the stems and rinse the berries under running water. I spread them out on clean tea towels or paper towels and let them sit on the counter until they’re dry. If I’m freezing blackberries and raspberries, I do not wash them first.
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2. Once the berries are dry, I line one or more cookie sheets with parchment paper and spread the berries over the paper. I make a single layer of berries on each tray.
3. Put the uncovered cookie tray(s) into the freezer overnight.
4. In the morning, I pull the trays out of the freezer and lift up on the corners of the parchment paper. The frozen berries pop right off.
5. I hold the two long sides of the parchment paper to lift it, letting all the berries fall to the center of the paper. I tilt one end of the paper up over a bowl and all the berries roll into it. Then, I empty the bowl of individual frozen berries into a waiting plastic zip top baggie.
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6. After squeezing out as much air as possible, I seal the bag and toss it into the freezer. Whenever I need a taste of summer, I pull out a bag and grab a handful of berries.
I use the defrosted berries to make fruit smoothies, muffins, raspberry cupcakes (my son’s favorite!), blueberry pancakes, sauces for pork, homemade ice cream, and lots of other goodies.
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How do you preserve your berry harvest? Tell us about it in the comments below.