Tag Archive | blackberries

Preserving the Berries

ReflectiveTapestryBlackberries

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.

Frugal Value Living Before Freezing Berries 10

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.

Frugal Value Living Freezing Berries 7

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.

Frugal Value Lifestyle Freezing Blueberries

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.

Frugal Value Lifestyle Freezing Berries 4

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.

Frugal Value Living Freezing Berries 8

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.

Frugal Value Living Freezing Strawberries 1

Enjoy the harvest all year round by preserving your food safely,

Laura

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.

Frugal Value Lifestyle Freezing Berries 2

~ Enjoy ~

Laura

Laura D. Field
Reflective Tapestry of Life
Writer, Blogger, Proofreading & editing, Freelance contributor

Thorny Rashes and Scratches – Home Healing Remedy

 ReflectiveTapestryBlackberries

Recently I have had the ultimate pleasure in being invited to pick blackberries, for FREE!!  I love it!  To have an unlimited supply of berries to make jams and desserts was a huge blessing, as the cost of such berries can limit ones ability to enjoy their flavor throughout the upcoming year.

The one thing that I did not prepare for was the abundance of thorns that blackberries have.  Most especially in the field in which we picked, as it had not been maintained in a number of years, creating a nest of blackberries vines we had to work our way through.

Still, the day was young and the berries were delicious and inviting.  After battling the vines and filling my berry baskets, I wiped off the sweat and headed home.  It was not long before I realized, actually remembered, that the scratches from the berry vines would cause a dermatitis reaction along with the potential risk of infection where I was scratched by the thorns.

This no longer alarms me, as I have discovered that four items I always have on hand are natural remedies that work well for me.  It is inexpensive and heals quickly.

  1. Antibacterial soap, such as Dial
  2. Witch Hazel
  3. Vaseline
  4. Baking Soap

How I use these products:

  1. After berry picking, once I am home, I immediately clean my hands and arms with warm soapy water, using antibacterial soap.   Depending on the heat of the day, I will possibly take a refreshing shower, using the antibacterial soap on all areas exposed to the vines.
  2. Once dried, I take cotton balls soaked in Witch Hazel, and gently apply to the scratches and any area where there is a rash.
  3. I then cover my arms and hands with a modest layer of Vaseline.  It will leave a greasy film on you, so be cautious of where you put your arms and hands.  I leave this on for as long as possible, then if necessary when you have lots to do, use a soft towel and rub in while also removing any excess.  If the greasy feeling really bothers you, you can again wash with the antibacterial soap.
  4. Later, as the day is coming to a close, I will fill the tub with warm water and ¼ – ½ cup (I use a ½ c) of Baking Soda.  I will make sure all parts of my body that were exposed to the thorns are covered as I relax for at least 10-20 minutes.
  5. Once dried off, I reapply the Vaseline like a moisturizer, rubbing it in as best as possible.  I do not completely remove the Vaseline while rubbing it in, as I want it to heal my body during the night.

This remedy has worked for me each time.  It heals the scratches and takes the rash and itch away.  I have woken the next morning with very little sign of scratching, and by the second day (if not gone the first night), the scratches are completely gone.

Why Antibacterial Soap:  These soaps are designed to kill bacteria and microbes.  You do not need to buy an expensive name brand in order for it to work.  You are basically cleaning out the dirt and chemicals within the berry thorns that are causing the dermatitis reaction.

ReflectiveTapestryWitchHazelWhy Witch Hazel:  Witch hazel is made with the hazel leaf extract, bark extract and hazel water which when used as an astringent, tightens the skin.  It also contains chemicals called tannins, which when applied directly to your skin, has the ability to reduce swelling, repair broken skin and fight bacteria.

 

 

ReflectiveTapestryVaseline

Why Vaseline:  Vaseline has been around for many years, being used as a skin softener and repair of cuts, scraps and chapped lips.  The properties that include paraffin, microcrystalline and mineral oil have healing properties that prevent water from escaping the skin.  Water escaping causes ones skin to dry out and create the scabs that many end up picking at.  Vaseline keeps impurities from entering the wounds, softens the skin, while allowing the body’s natural healing properties to work without interruption.

Why Baking Soda:  Baking Soda is a natural remedy that neutralizes acid and alkaline, regulating pH levels.  Utilizing this amazing natural product in ones bath promotes healing while also softening ones skin.  It is recommending for infant diaper rashes, women suffering from a yeast infection, among other ailments.

How does this relate to frugality?  It keeps me from buying multiple lotions, ointments and powders from large companies toting the most effective remedy.  Since I know that this works for my family, and I always have these products on hand, I am saving our resources on the many products as well as the transportation in obtaining them.

Living a frugal life, regardless of income class, utilizing ones resources wisely.

Enjoy your summer pickins’

~ Enjoy ~

Laura

Laura D. Field
Reflective Tapestry of Life
Writer, Blogger, Proofreading & editing, Freelance contributor

Disclaimer:  Although this method for healing works for my family and I, it might not be the ideal remedy for all people.  One must know their own skin tolerances and allergens in order to be sure they will be effective.The information that I have shared is done as general information without expressed or implied guarantees or warranty.  Always seek professional medical help when you are in question about your personal health.If your situation is that of a medical emergency please seek medical attention.