A Guide to Freezing Berries

Berries are  best eaten fresh, but if this is impossible and you have an oversupply, freezing is preferable to canning. Berries can be frozen easily by simply washing them, draining them in a colander,adding some sugar and placing them in freezer bags in the refrigerator. However,the most basic way is to freeze them according to how they will be used.

These are the first thoughts that come to mind when asked how to freeze berries.  A bit of caution: Washing the berries too carefully can wash away their tasty juice. If they are to cooked in a pie, rest assured the germs will be annihilated before they berries are eaten. The best way is always cook frozen berries before eating, especially if the berries were bought at supermarkets.

Further research leads to contrary information. Berries, according to pickyourown.org, is better not washed before being frozen. Wash afterwards while still frozen. Washing removes too much of their juices and renders them more tasteless – especially blue berries.

If washed, drain them by leaving in  a colander in the sink for ten minutes, spread them out on a  cookie sheet, freeze overnight, place in a freezer bag, and that is that. The reasoning behind freezing each berry separately is you can use the amount needed  and will not have to thaw out the whole batch.

Other methods of freezing berries are also tried and true methods and probably the best method is the one that works for the cook. Whether washed or unwashed, and depending on whether they are to be eaten fresh or used for pies or puddings, they can be frozen in serving size freezer bags, or in larger bags for pies. Adding a little sugar to them before freezing, especially if they have been washed and are ready for eating, will make them more delectable and more appetizing.

Another method is to partially cook them before freezing, add a small amount of sugar and freeze individually. This is an excellent way to preserve fresh berries for desserts and for ice cream toppings. The type of fruit and the planned use  will be what determines how they will be frozen.  Actually. freezing berries is no big deal, but a few cautions are in order:

  * If not washed, make note on the package so they will be washed before eaten. While it probably preserves the flavor to freeze without washing, as the experts claim, washing berries after they have been frozen will not remove the germs that were there before freezing. The difference may be where the berries came from. From the wild, or from a berry patch in backyards, they may safely be frozen before washing, but bought from a store that purchased them from unknown sources is surely a health gamble.

* To be absolutely safe, precook berries that are to be used for cooking. Or, if the amount picked from the wild is sufficient, make home made jellies and jams. These are absolutely wonderful and are far above what you can buy in the store. Whatever, and no matter how delectable and healthy berries are claimed to be, eating contaminated one is too great a risk.

* Use your own judgment. If you have a large quality of berries in backyards, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, etc, and most are ripe, to assure they are clean, why not gently hose them down before picking, or pick them after a rain, this will assure you can freeze them and feel safer in eating them raw. It is not knowing how clean the hands were that picked and fondled the berries that make eating them without washing or pre-cooking them questionable.

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