How to freeze berries to use later (directions, recipe, with photos and free)

This month's notes: September 2014: Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries tomatoes, corn and most vegetables are being picked in most places; strawberries are finishing or done; Peaches are in and early apples have started. Find a local blueberry festival and blueberry picking tips here. See how easy it is to make strawberry jam or strawberry-rhubarb jam! Make your own homemade strawberry ice cream including low fat, low sugar and other flavors))  Have fun, eat healthier and better tasting, and save money by picking your own locally grown fruit and vegetables, and then using our easy canning and freezing directions!

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How to Freeze  blueberries!

(and saskatoons, aronia berries, and huckleberries)

Click here for a PDF print version

If you like  blueberries in the winter, for muffins, pancakes, cobblers, pies or just in a bowl; just imagine how good it would taste if you had picked a couple of quarts fresh or bought a them from a farm stand and then quickly froze them at home!  It is also one of the simplest ways to put up a fruit for the winter. Here's how to do it, complete instructions in easy steps and completely illustrated. Your own frozen  blueberries will taste MUCH better than anything you've ever had from a store. I'm using blueberries as an example, but this same process works exactly the same for any other berries listed above.  Strawberries are different in that you must remove the hulls (the green cap) after washing, but otherwise the same.

This also works for cherries, but you may want to pit them before freezing them.

Directions for Freezing blueberries

Ingredients and Equipment

  • fresh berries - any quantity
  • Vacuum food sealer or "ziploc" type freezer bags (the freezer bag version is heavier and protects better against freezer burn.
  • a pan or tray that will fit in your freezer
  • a strainer or colander  

Instructions

Step 1 - Get yer blueberries!

Start with the freshest blueberries you can get.  Look for plump, full blueberries with a good color. I've used blueberries as an example, but these directions would equally well for any similar berry (saskatoons, aronia, etc.) See the picking tips page for other berries.

 

 

 

 

 

Step 2 - Wash the blueberries? Or not?

According to U.Ga, and Clemson University extensions, you should not wash blueberries and related berries (like saskatoons). They say washing results in a tougher skinned product. They say to wash them after you remove them from the freezer to use.  This only applies to blueberries and saskatoons. For those, just pick the dirt out, and wash them later when you thaw them Just rinse them gently in cold water.  I put a colander or strainer in a large bowl, fill it with colcold water and swirl the blueberries in it with my fingers.  That avoids breaking them and dirt either floats, which I pick out, or sinks and is removed when I lift the strainer out of the bowl.

As I said, if you plan to use them later in cooking,  I haven't found this to be a problem. Since I use the frozen blueberries only to make blueberry pie, blueberry muffins and blueberry pancakes in the dead of winter, the cooking softens them, anyway.  But if you plan to use them uncooked after thawing, you might wait to wash them until AFTER you thaw them. If you are going to cook them later, just put them in a big bowl of water to wash and help sort out the blueberries!

If you plan not to wash the blueberries before freezing, you can just swirl them around in a colander or large sieve, to let any dirt particles pass through!

Step 3 - Drain the blueberries

If you washed them, use a large sieve or colander to remove as much water as possible.  I usually let them sit for about 10 minutes in the colander 

SteStep 4 - Spread the blueberries in a pan

There are two ways of doing this.  If you have space in your freezer, spread the berries out in a large oven pan with a lip or ridge.  Put enough on to make 1 layer.  this way they will freeze quickly and not be frozen together in a lump, so later you can remove only what you need without thawing the rest.f your freezer isn't that big, just drain as much of the water as you can, then put them into whatever container will  fit in your freezer.  After they are frozen, they may stick together a little bit, but should break apart fairly easily.

 

 

 

 

Step 5 - Put them in the freezer

Pop them into the coldest part of the freezer, or the quick freeze shelf, if your freezer has one!

I leave them in the freezer overnight, to get completely frozen.

 

 

 

&nbs 

Step 6 - Bag the blueberries

I love the FoodSavers (see this page for more information) with their vacuum sealing!  I am not paid by them, but these things really work.  If you don't have one, ziploc bags work, too, but it is hard to get as much air out of the bags.  remove the air to prevent drying and freezer burn.  On the left is the bag with frozen blueberries before vacuum sealing, and to the right is the same bag after vacuum sealing. Of course, you can use ziploc bags (see below), but they leave a lot more air in, which allows some freezer burn.

Note: I typically write the labels on the bags with a Sharpie permanent marker BEFORE I fill the bags (it's easier) rather than after, as shown in step 7) tip for a low budget vacuum sealer:

"To "To remove the excess air from a ziploc bag, put a straw inside the bag and zip it closed as far as possible. Then suck the air out of the bag, pinch the straw shut where it enters the bag and pull it from the bag and quickly zip the bag the rest of the way"

Step 7 - Label the bags!

Of course, you'll want to label them with the contents and date, or all this work could be wasted, if you can't identify them later, or don't know how old they are.

Step 8 - Done!

Pop them into the deep freeze, or in the coldest part of your regular freezer!

 

 

 

&nbs 


When you are ready to use the blueberries - Thaw, wash and sort the blueberries.  

To thaw them, just set them in the fridge overnight, or on the counter for a couple of hours.  I wouldn't recommend the microwave unless you are planning to cook with them!t SIZE="2">

Note (again) about blueberries:

You You can wash the frozen blueberries in a bowl of plain cold water. Then you need to pick out and remove any bits of stems, leaves and soft or mushy blueberries. It is easiest to do this in a large bowl of water and gently run your hands through the blueberries as they float.  With your fingers slightly apart, you will easily feel any soft or mushy blueberries get caught in your fingers

Picking Tips:

  • Harvest early in the morning, especially if the weather is hot, to get peak flavor.
  • HarvHarvest the blueberries at its peak maturity, but not overripe and mushy.
  • Process promptly after harvesting, or keep cooled in the fridge or with ice until then.>
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If you'd like to advertise or have your own web page(s), click here!


Remember to ALWAYS call the farm or orchard BEFORE you go - weather, heavy picking and business conditions can always affect their hours and crops!


PYO Farms in Other Countries: [ Australia ] [ Canada ] [ South Africa ] [ New Zealand ] [ United Kingdom ]

Our other free, informative sites you may like:

EHSO.com - Environmental health and safety information and guidance for the home
ConsumerFraudReporting.org - Information about identity theft, frauds and scams; how to report them and how to protect your identity.
FitnessAndHealthScience.org - Practical fitness, health and diet information that works.
And our other related websites!


Care to Donate to help me keep the website going? Donate to me at Benevia here:

Use the feedback form for questions, comments and feedback about farmsUse this form suggest a farm to add to the website
Or as a last result (I reply to the forms FIRST),write me at 
 Write to pickyourown.org
All images and text  Copyright
Benivia, LLC 2004 - 2013 All rights reserved.   
Disclaimer and Privacy Policy
Permission is given to link to any page on www.pickyourown.org Do NOT copy and republish this page in whole or part, that is a copyright violation which will be prosecuted: link to the page instead!
Looking for jobs on farms?  Farmers:
If you'd like to advertise or have your own web page(s), click here!


Remember to ALWAYS call the farm or orchard BEFORE you go - weather, heavy picking and business conditions can always affect their hours and crops!


PYO Farms in Other Countries: [ Australia ] [ Canada ] [ South Africa ] [ New Zealand ] [ United Kingdom ]

Our other free, informative sites you may like:

EHSO.com - Environmental health and safety information and guidance for the home
ConsumerFraudReporting.org - Information about identity theft, frauds and scams; how to report them and how to protect your identity.
FitnessAndHealthScience.org - Practical fitness, health and diet information that works.
And our other related websites!


Care to Donate to help me keep the website going? Donate to me at Benevia here:

Use the feedback form for questions, comments and feedback about farmsUse this form suggest a farm to add to the website
Or as a last result (I reply to the forms FIRST),write me at 
 Write to pickyourown.org
All images and text  Copyright
Benivia, LLC 2004 - 2013 All rights reserved.   
Disclaimer and Privacy Policy
Permission is given to link to any page on www.pickyourown.org Do NOT copy and republish this page in whole or part, that is a copyright violation which will be prosecuted: link to the page instead!
Looking for jobs on farms?  Farmers:
If you'd like to advertise or have your own web page(s), click here!


Remember to ALWAYS call the farm or orchard BEFORE you go - weather, heavy picking and business conditions can always affect their hours and crops!


PYO Farms in Other Countries: [ Australia ] [ Canada ] [ South Africa ] [ New Zealand ] [ United Kingdom ]

Our other free, informative sites you may like:

EHSO.com - Environmental health and safety information and guidance for the home
ConsumerFraudReporting.org - Information about identity theft, frauds and scams; how to report them and how to protect your identity.
FitnessAndHealthScience.org - Practical fitness, health and diet information that works.
And our other related websites!


Care to Donate to help me keep the website going? Donate to me at Benevia here:

Use the feedback form for questions, comments and feedback about farmsUse this form suggest a farm to add to the website
Or as a last result (I reply to the forms FIRST),write me at 
 Write to pickyourown.org
All images and text  Copyright
Benivia, LLC 2004 - 2013 All rights reserved.   
Disclaimer and Privacy Policy
Permission is given to link to any page on www.pickyourown.org Do NOT copy and republish this page in whole or part, that is a copyright violation which will be prosecuted: link to the page instead!
Looking for jobs on farms?  Farmers:
If you'd like to advertise or have your own web page(s), click here!


Remember to ALWAYS call the farm or orchard BEFORE you go - weather, heavy picking and business conditions can always affect their hours and crops!


PYO Farms in Other Countries: [ Australia ] [ Canada ] [ South Africa ] [ New Zealand ] [ United Kingdom ]

Our other free, informative sites you may like:

EHSO.com - Environmental health and safety information and guidance for the home
ConsumerFraudReporting.org - Information about identity theft, frauds and scams; how to report them and how to protect your identity.
FitnessAndHealthScience.org - Practical fitness, health and diet information that works.
And our other related websites!


Care to Donate to help me keep the website going? Donate to me at Benevia here:

Use the feedback form for questions, comments and feedback about farmsUse this form suggest a farm to add to the website
Or as a last result (I reply to the forms FIRST),write me at 
 Write to pickyourown.org
All images and text  Copyright
Benivia, LLC 2004 - 2013 All rights reserved.   
Disclaimer and Privacy Policy
Permission is given to link to any page on www.pickyourown.org Do NOT copy and republish this page in whole or part, that is a copyright violation which will be prosecuted: link to the page instead!
Looking for jobs on farms?  Farmers:
If you'd like to advertise or have your own web page(s), click here!


Remember to ALWAYS call the farm or orchard BEFORE you go - weather, heavy picking and business conditions can always affect their hours and crops!


PYO Farms in Other Countries: [ Australia ] [ Canada ] [ South Africa ] [ New Zealand ] [ United Kingdom ]

Our other free, informative sites you may like:

EHSO.com - Environmental health and safety information and guidance for the home
ConsumerFraudReporting.org - Information about identity theft, frauds and scams; how to report them and how to protect your identity.
FitnessAndHealthScience.org - Practical fitness, health and diet information that works.
And our other related websites!


Care to Donate to help me keep the website going? Donate to me at Benevia here:

Use the feedback form for questions, comments and feedback about farmsUse this form suggest a farm to add to the website
Or as a last result (I reply to the forms FIRST),write me at 
 Write to pickyourown.org
All images and text  Copyright
Benivia, LLC 2004 - 2013 All rights reserved.   
Disclaimer and Privacy Policy
Permission is given to link to any page on www.pickyourown.org Do NOT copy and republish this page in whole or part, that is a copyright violation which will be prosecuted: link to the page instead!
Looking for href="jobsonfarms.htm" target="_top">jobs on farms?  Farmers:
If you'd like to advertise or have your own web page(s), click here!