How to freeze berries

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A well proven way to save money on your food budget is to stock up on produce while they are in season.  Not only do they taste better but they also can be significantly cheaper.  Now these “purchases” can be from your local grocery store, U-Pick farm, fruit stand, farmers market, free roadside berries, or even from your own garden.

Given the attractive prices of these fruits it may be tempting to buy more than you need.  Which I would say go ahead and buy to your hearts content.  After you have made all the jam you can eat in a year (don’t make 15 jars of jam when you only consume 4 per year) one effective and easy way to store your extra berries for winter is freezing.

For the impatient one you can simply dump the berries into a Tupperware or freezer bag and toss them in the freezer.  Though in the end this will give a solid clump of berries which you would need to pull out an ice pick to separate the berries if you only require a few.

The more preferred technique is the following:

  1. Wash your berries: Give your berries a quick rinse and let them dry in a colander for about 10-15 minutes
  2. Spread your berries: Lay down some wax or parchment paper on a cookie sheet and spread your berries on a single layer just ensuring that the berries are not touching.  If a couple touch it is not the end of the world they will just be close friends in the freezer.
  3. Freeze your berries: Carefully put the berries in the coldest part of your freezer overnight. IMG_3167
  4. Pack your berries for the winter: When it comes to freezer storage and fruit air is always the enemy.  If you have a vacuum sealer that would be your best option but if you are like me and don’t here is a cheap alternative.  Take a regular old Ziploc freezer bag and insert a straw on one end, close the bag as tight as possible around the straw, suck air until you get dizzy, and quickly seal the bag.  Just to be extra cautious I will then throw that bag in another bag for an extra layer of protection.  Note: You have a little time to complete this step but don’t want to allow enough time for your berries to begin to defrost and refreeze stuck together.
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  5. Label the bag(s) and throw them in the freezer
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Now to avoid getting too scientific (size/speed of water molecule formation) the faster you can get your berries frozen the better the quality your berries will be when you pull them out.  If you have enough berries (or not enough cookie sheets) you can also add your berries and some broken up dry ice to a metal bowl (be sure to wear gloves) and stir to replace step 3.  This will get you the fastest freeze and best quality though unless you are freezing many flats of berries I would recommend the cookie sheet method.

Following these steps you should have some tasty berries you can pull out individually from the freezer all winter long.

6 Responses to “How to freeze berries”

  1. Red Icculus Says:

    Great guide and great shoutout on the Genhydro blog!


  2. The Cheap Vegetable Gardener Says:

    Red, Thanks for the reminder noticed that yesterday and forgot to give some thanks.


  3. Ragnar Says:

    Thanks for the guide!


  4. How to freeze strawberries Says:

    […] strawberries is much like freezing other berries strawberries are just as easy with just a few simple […]


  5. Damon Says:

    To get the air out of the bag you can submerge the mostly sealed bag into a container of water (without letting the water get into the bag) which will displace the air, then seal it up and pull it out of the water, a little less strenuous on the lungs!


  6. The Cheap Vegetable Gardener Says:

    Damon, that is a great tip. Normally I squeeze enough air out I don’t have to strain my lungs too much, but I can still get a little lightheaded 🙂


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