Who loves raspberries? I sure do! The berries in our garden are coming on strong right now. There have been so many that we can’t eat them all before it’s time to pick again. I have been sharing them with my neighbors and we have been eating them by the handfuls. It finally dawned on me, “I should be freezing these red gems!” I am going to show you how simple it is to clean and freeze any kind of berry.
Raspberries are always included in my smoothie every morning, but I have been using the frozen berry blend from Costco. I figure I will get at least 2 quarts of frozen berries per week until fall hits. This will save us a bunch of money, and knowing where they came from is even better (organic) and grown with love!
Harvesting berries can be quite a chore, but oh so worth it! You have to put on long sleeves, so they don’t scratch up your arms and they have to be picked every other day. I swear that they multiply while you are picking. You can pick an area and by the time you come back to it, there are more ripe berries. That is why I like to have two people picking at the same time. It gets done faster, you have someone to talk to and you seem to do a more thorough job.
I have found that if you pick the raspberries regularly and don’t let them get all dried and shriveled up, they produce better. It’s like the raspberry bush feels appreciated if you pick them regularly therefore they produce more full, plump, and juicy berries. I know there is probably a more scientific explanation for the benefit of frequent picking, but I like this one.
Raspberries are chuck full of goodness! Raspberries are not just yummy; they are also rich in vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber.
One cup of raspberries will provide you with
- 54% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C
- 41% of your recommended daily intake of manganese,
- 32% of your recommended daily intake of fiber (8 grams)
- 12% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin K.
Here are some of the benefits :
- Cancer-Fighting Properties
- Maintains cardiovascular health
- Improves fertility
- Mood and Memory Boosting
- Healthy Tissues and Blood Vessels
- Boosts Immunity
- Maintains Eye Health
- Good for Diabetics
- Aids in Weight Loss
Not bad for something so sweet tasting and beautiful.
If you don’t have a raspberry patch in your garden, try to find them somewhere! Hopefully, you have access to a local farmers’ market or grocery store that sells them fresh. If you can’t find them fresh anywhere, stores sell them already frozen.
On that note, let’s talk about freezing your berries. This is not difficult at all. Raspberries seem so fragile to wash, but this method will keep the berries together and it doesn’t’ mash them. This method works great for all berries and blueberries.
Fill the sink with cold water.
Place berries in a strainer/colander and gently lower the colander into the sink.
Swish the berries around a little and let them sit for 3-5 minutes.
Run cold water over the berries and pick out any stems or grass.
Let the berries drain for a few minutes.
I love this strainer. You can adjust the width so it fits on top of the sink edge for hands free draining. Works really nicely for washing veggies as well.
While the berries are draining, line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Dump the berries onto a clean dish towel. (Preferably one that you won’t mind if it gets stains on it).
Allow them to sit for a few minutes to absorb some of the moisture.
Carefully dump the berries onto the parchment lined cookie sheet.
Evenly spread around so there is a SINGLE layer of berries.
Place the pan of berries into the freezer for 1-2 hours or until frozen.
Take the berries out of the freezer and break apart any clumps.
Place the frozen berries into a zip bag and label the date.
Work quickly so berries don’t thaw out. If they start to thaw, they will clump together when freezing.
There you have it! Raspberries whenever you want them.
What do you do with frozen berries?
- add them to smoothies
- they make a great snack, especially in the hot summer
- add to a cup of yogurt, cereal and ice cream!
- make jam, sauces and berry syrup
- add to salads
- make a berry shake
- of course, a yummy pie! (my husbands favorite way to use raspberries).
So, if you have berries coming out your ears, or just want to preserve them for a later date, this is how easy it is.