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

How to Freeze Berries

(Blackberries, Raspberries, Tayberries, Marionberries, Ollalieberries, Boysenberries, Loganberries, etc.)

Click here for a PDF print version

If you like  blackberries or raspberries 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  berries will taste MUCH better than anything you've ever had from a store. I'm using blackberries as an example in the photos below, but this same process works exactly the same for any other berries listed above.  Blueberries and strawberries are bit different (see this page for strawberries) and (see this page for blueberries).

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

Directions for Freezing Berries

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  


Step 1 - Get yer berries!

Start with the freshest berries you can get.  Look for plump, full berries with a good color. I've used blackberries as an example, but these directions would equally well for any similar berry (tc.) See the picking tips page for other berries, such as Raspberries, Tayberries, Marionberries, Ollalieberries, Boysenberries, Loganberries, etc.








Step 2 - Wash the berries

Yes, you will get a lot of dirt and even bugs out of them.  You may have heard that blueberries and related berries (like saskatoons) should not be washed before freezing (and that is true, see this page about freezing blueberries, saskatoons and huckleberries)  . But all other berries should be washed before freezing.  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.

Step 3 - Drain the berries

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 

Step 4 - Spread the berries 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 the pan 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.


Step 6 - Bag the berries

I love the FoodSavers ( target="_top" href="canningfoodsealers.htm">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 berries 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: font SIZE="2">

"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 will 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!



When you are ready to use the berries - Thaw the berries.  

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 /font>



Wild blackberries for making jamBerry Picking Tips:

  • Harvest early in the morning, especially if the weather is hot, to get peak flavor.
  • Harvest the berries at its peak maturity, but not overripe and mushy.
  • Process promptly after harvesting, or keep cooled in the fridge or with ice until then.

Home Canning Kits/h2>


  • EverEverything you need to get started with waterbath canning (fruits,pickles, jams, jellies, salsa, sauces and tomatoes)
  • 21-1/2 qt. enamel water bath canner
  • Funnel, jar lifter, lid lifter, bubble freer spatula
  • Ball Blue Book

This is the same type of standard canner that my grandmother used to make everything from applesauce to jams and jellies to tomato and spaghetti sauce. This complete kit includes everything you need and lasts for years: the canner, jar rack, jar grabber tongs, lid lifting wand, a plastic funnel, labels, bubble freer, and the bible of canning, the Ball Blue Book. It's much cheaper than buying the items separately. You will never need anything else except jars & lids (and the jars are reusable)! There is also a simple kit with just the canner and rack, and a pressure canner, if you want to do vegetables (other than tomatoes). To see more canners, of different styles, makes and prices, click here!


Get canning lids on Amazon here, fast and inexpensive, and BPA-free    Mrs. Wages salsa canning mix

Lids, Rings, Jars, mixes, pectin, etc.

Need lids, rings and replacement jars?  Or pectin to make jam, spaghetti sauce or salsa mix or pickle mixes?  Get them all here, and usually at lower prices than your local store!

GGGet them all here at the best prices on the internet!

Picking Tipsh2>

[General picking tips and a guide to each fruit and vegetable] [How much do I need to pick? (Yields - how much raw makes how much cooked or frozen)] [Selecting the right varieties to pick] [All about apple varieties - which to pic

k and why!]  [Picking tips for Vegetables] [ Strawberry picking tips] [ Blueberries picking tips]

Illustrated Canning, Freezing, Jam Instructions and Recipes

[ Easy Home Canning Directions] [FAQs - Answers to common questions and problems] [Recommended books about home canning, jam making, drying and preserving!] [Free canning publications to download and print]

Above is the
2020 version of
the Ball Blue Book