Fall has arrived, and I am beginning to make jams and jellies from the preserves and realized that before I posted about making jams and jellies, I would like to share about how I preserve my berries so that I can later bake, create dessert toppings as well as prepare jams and jellies.
When summer arrives, the urge to pick berries becomes a passion for me. Partially because we eat them year round and by picking enough to get through the winter season, I am guaranteed a fresh supply until the following year of picking. The other part is the therapeutic affect it has on me of being out in nature reaping the harvest of what God has provided.
Berries are extremely easy to preserve. Many times the first thought people have when they go out to pick berries is to return home and immediately make muffins, pancakes, jams and jellies. But, if you are one to pick to preserve or one who might not have the time to do all that culinary stuff when you return, there is a way to preserve these delightful treats for your future desires.
First, keep a few days worth of fresh berries to enjoy with your morning breakfast, salads, desserts, etc. Once that is done take the time to prepare your berries for the freezer.
Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc. Berries that do not need to be hulled like strawberries can be washed, then lightly dried. Once dried, place a layer of berries on flat tray surfaces, (I use cookie sheets and baking pans) and place them into the freezer. After a few hours (or overnight) you can remove these marbled berries and place into freezer safe containers or freezer bags. This allows the berries from sticking to each other, which is perfect when baking, as one should never completely thaw their berries before baking. This prevents them from becoming soggy and keeps them whole in the baked goods.
With strawberries, one must hull their berries and remove any bad portions. You can freeze them whole or in slices. I freeze them both ways. Freezing them whole takes less time to preserve, yet in slices (not much longer to put up) the strawberries are perfect when you want them for going over your future desserts. Again, as with the other berries, once frozen (over night) I remove from the trays and place into freezer bags or freezer containers.
Freezing your berries is simple. All you need are baking pans and cookie sheets that you already have in your kitchen cupboards, freezer safe ziploc bags and some time to prepare your fruit.
Enjoy the harvest all year round by preserving your food safely,
NOTE: One thing I noticed this year was the high cost of picking berries at the farm, so in an effort to conserve our limited resources, I sought out other options. I was notified of a location where I could pick blackberries for free, found a few sources where the berries were much cheaper to purchase already picked, and our family was blessed with a gift of a few gallons of blueberries and raspberries (already frozen, so the work for these gifts was already done). In addition, we do have some blueberry, raspberry and blackberry plants. This year our plants produced a “few” raspberries, a gallon of blackberries, and maybe a 1/2 gallon of blueberries. Not as much as I would like to pick and preserve, but certainly a start towards being self-sufficient with berries.
~ Enjoy ~
Laura D. Field
Reflective Tapestry of Life
Writer, Blogger, Proofreading & editing, Freelance contributor