Too many fresh berries?
By Amanda Lamb (board treasurer) and Andrew Halmstad
- You’ve picked 20 lbs. of blackberries at Sauvie Island, and have already made three cobblers, two pies, and countless fruit salads and smoothies…what now?
- You buy the “6-pack” of berries from the farmer’s market before remembering you can’t actually eat six pints of blueberries and strawberries before they go bad.
- Your raspberry patch in the backyard has exploded, and you have three giant bowls of berries just sitting in your fridge, starting to mold.
What to do, what to do?
Freezing your fresh fruit is a great way to enjoy berry season year round! The steps to take when freezing different berries is simple and quick. All you need is
- Fresh berries
- Large baking sheet(s) lined with parchment paper
- Gallon size freezer bags (Ziplocs) or Tupperware containers for frozen goods
Be sure to freeze berries in small batches so they freeze quickly. Don’t stack them on top of one another until they are frozen solid (otherwise you’ll have smashed berries.)
To freeze most berries
Rinse the berries. Then spread in a single layer on top of the parchment lined baking sheets and place in the freezer. After about one hour (when the berries are frozen), take out the berries and baking sheets and slide the flash frozen berries into the freezer bags. Label with the date and place them back in the freezer.
To freeze blueberries
There is only one difference for blueberries vs other berries (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc.), but it’s important! For the blueberries, don’t wash or rinse prior to freezing. Follow the freezing instructions above. Then remember to rinse the berries when you pull them out of the freezer to use them later in the year.
Other types of fruit
Freezing other types of fruit is also easy:
- Bananas, oranges, pineapple, etc.: Just remove the peel/rind, slice, and put into a freezer bag. (We do this to every banana that starts getting too ripe, and then pull them out and blend them with a little coconut milk and honey for an amazing banana ice cream!)
- Peaches, apples, mango, etc.: Rinse and slice them up, and then sprinkle the slices with sugar to prevent them from browning and getting freezer burnt. You can also make a simple syrup of sugar and water. Put the slices in a freezer bag and seal.
Using the fruit later in the year
When you are ready to use the fruit, just pull the bags out of the freezer and sit on the counter or in a bowl of water to thaw. Of course, if you are using them for a smoothie, just add them directly to the blender (no need to add ice). More solid fruits (blueberries and blackberries) will retain their shape, while juicier fruits like strawberries or peaches may not. They will all taste delicious though and you’ll have June fruits in January!