It’s Berry Season

Posted: July 15, 2022

Summer is a great time to preserve the savory taste of fresh berries. You can make berry preserves or freeze berries for later use.

Freezing Berries

Freezing is a simple, fast way to preserve berries. Freezing preserves food by stopping the growth of micro-organisms and slowing down changes that affect quality or cause food to spoil.

When properly frozen, fruits will retain their fresh flavor and nutritive value.

It’s best to freeze them soon after harvest. The texture will be a bit softer but the flavor will remain.

Freezer Containers

Containers should be moisture and vapor proof, such as rigid plastic containers or freezer bags. Stay away from paper type cartons.Consider the shape and size. Square or rectangle shapes use less space than round containers. It is easier to remove the frozen product from containers with straight sides or sides that flare out.

Flash freeze berries as directed below. This keeps them loose and easy to measure out of the freezer as needed.

How to Freeze Berries

  1. Wash and drain well.
  2. Dry berries gently with a towel; this is not necessary but makes the berries completely ice free.
  3. Place berries in a single layer on a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan.
  4. Place in freezer until frozen, about 6 hours or overnight.
  5. Transfer to freezer container, eliminate air especially in bags.
  6. Store.

Baked Berry Preserves

4 half pint jars, lids and bands
2 pounds berries, cleaned and trimmed
to make pieces equal in size
½ cup sugar
2 sprigs lemon verbena or a wide strip
of lemon peel
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Wash jars, lids and bands in hot soapy water. Rinse well, drain upside down on a clean towel.
  3. Mix strawberries, sugar, lemon
    and vinegar.
  4. Pour into a shallow roasting pan, bake uncovered on the middle rack, gently stir occasionally until berries release their liquid and mixture begins to thicken. This will take about 40 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven and discard lemon peel. Let cool and thicken for about an hour.
  6. Leave mixture chunky or break up with a potato masher.
  7. Divide cooled mixture among jars, to store refrigerate up to 3 weeks or freeze.

Serving suggestions: Use the preserves as jam on toast. As an appetizer cut a baguette into thick slices and toast. Smear with ricotta; dollop the preserves over and sprinkle with thinly sliced fresh basil.

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