This is a teaser for our upcoming food preservation workshop series, which we’ll announce in the coming weeks
The worst part about berry season is the day it’s over. I’m always trying to prolong my access to berries in any way to avoid the inevitable sadness that occurs when my raspberries stop producing, and the blueberries start looking overripe and mushy.
My favorite way to keep it going: freezing!
Berries are particularly well-suited, if treated properly, to hang out in the freezer, conveniently waiting for your craving to hit.
Here’s the method:
We’re going for individually frozen, loose pieces, for convenience and flavor. If your berries are frozen in a wet clump, it forces you to defrost and quickly use a preset amount at once, which may not be convenient at the time. I find it unnecessary to coat them in a sugar syrup before preserving. But it is delicious and attractive to make a quick vanilla syrup to coat the berries in just before baking exposed on a pastry or topping a waffle!
Obtain berries as fresh as possible, through our CSA here (look for preserving quantities available to special order soon), the farmers’ market, or your own garden.
Pick over, rinse, and dry very thoroughly (that’s important to avoid non-tasty ice crystallization).
Gently arrange in a single layer on a clean, dry, metal cookie sheet, and stash in your freezer. Don’t crowd the pan- the idea here is to freeze individual berries, not masses of smooshed berries (I mean, those taste good too, but it’s not ideal).
Stainless steel and aluminum are great conductors of heat, so if you stick them in the freezer, they will transfer that temperature to your berries much more quickly than plastic would, resulting in smaller ice crystals and therefore better texture and flavor.
As soon as they’re frozen, transfer to a labelled ziploc bag.
Now, you can pull out handfuls as you need for your yogurt in the morning, a refreshing snack for your kids on a hot day, smoothies, pancake mixins, pie-baking, or sweet relief for teething babies (I like to stick the frozen berries in one of those netted pacifier things that help babies learn to self feed).
What do you like to do with frozen berries?