Tip for freezing berries

VermontCathy Posts: 1,821 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited August 2021 in Wild Edibles & Medicinals

When you have more berries than you can eat fresh or use in James, jellies, and preserves, you will want to freeze the rest.

But if you just dump the berries in a bag or plastic container and then freeze them, they will form a solid mass and you will have to thaw the entire bag when ready to use them, creating a mushy mess that won't keep long even refrigerated.

The solution is to spread the fresh, washed and drained berries on a cookie sheet, only one layer deep. The single layer is important.

Put the sheet into the freezer as close to level as possible. A shelf would be ideal, but I just adjust the frozen stuff underneath until more or less level and then put the sheet of berries on top of that.

Do not put anything on top of the berries!

Leave the sheet there for several hours. A full day is ideal.

By then each berry will be individually frozen solid. They may freeze to the sheet, but are easily broken free with your fingers.

Now transfer the frozen berries to a freezer bag or other freezer container, throw the cookie sheet in the wash, and put the bag back in the freezer. Now you will be able to reach into the bag and extract only the number of berries you need to thaw, leaving the rest frozen.

It really works!



  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,396 admin

    This is the only way to freeze berries, in my opinion.

    It is how the commercial freezing companies do it. IQF. Individually Quick Frozen.

    Thanks for posting this for others, @VermontCathy

  • dipat2005
    dipat2005 Posts: 1,203 ✭✭✭✭

    @torey I have found that a certain kind of cottage cheese container with a tight lid works for me. I can also freeze blueberries like that and let them filter to the bottom of the strawberry container. I do slice my berries though.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,396 admin

    @dipat2005 I often use cottage cheese, yogurt or sour cream containers for freezing, although they tend to get used up for the liquidy stuff like broth, so its mostly bags for my berries.

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,821 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Try different things and stay with what works. But definitely use a method that lets you take only the number of berries you want.

    For large berries such as strawberries, I recommend coring and slicing before freezing. For blueberries, raspberries, and other small berries, I freeze them whole.

  • marjstratton
    marjstratton Posts: 1,131 ✭✭✭✭

    That is the way I generally freeze my berries. Although the berry farmers say not to wash the berries before freezing but rather when you take them out of the freezer. I've done it both ways. I tend to prefer washing them before freezing and let them dry somewhat at room temperature. I have a lot of black berries and pick some today to freeze. Since they are my own berries and I am the only one who has touched them, I put them on the tray and put them in the freezer without washing.

    Sometimes I will fill my bag half full and freeze it and break up any clumps of berries when it starts freeing. Then when I have enough to make a quart I will combine them into one bag . That way, no berry icebergs.

  • kbmbillups1
    kbmbillups1 Posts: 1,272 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I used to freeze all of my berries the same way but since I have so many blueberries from my bushes I just wash them, spin them in a salad spinner, and freeze them in freezer baggies. If I need to use them and I don't have time to defrost them I just knock them on the floor a couple times to loosen them up. I do core my strawberries but I just freeze them in baggies as well after spinning them. I don't bother freezing them on trays anymore and I haven't had any problems separating them. I make kombuchas every week and use them for that with no issues.

    I do wash and let raspberries and blackberries dry on a paper towel on the counter before I freeze them. Raspberries are the only ones I really have a problem becoming a clump. If that happens I just cut the clump up and use them for kombuchas.

  • water2world
    water2world Posts: 1,046 ✭✭✭✭

    @VermontCathy Now that is something I CAN do! Thanks for posting.

  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,821 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @water2world Thank you!

    No one taught me how to do that. I had to figure it out myself. Apparently this method wasn't taught in the (many) books I've read.

    Now we can share it so we don't all have to figure it out on our own. +1 for community.

  • annbeck62
    annbeck62 Posts: 980 ✭✭✭✭

    The only thing I do different is put a sheet of wax paper on the cookie sheet first. I find it helps keep the fruit from sticking. I find I can reuse the wax paper a few times.

    COWLOVINGIRL Posts: 954 ✭✭✭✭
  • VermontCathy
    VermontCathy Posts: 1,821 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I was reviewing my copy of _Put Em Up!_ today looking for recipes to use up the end of season blueberries I picked this morning.

    The suggestion to individually freeze blueberries on a tray was in there, so perhaps that's where I learned it and I just forgot that I hadn't come up with it myself.

    There is a recipe for blueberry syrup in _Put Em Up! Fruit_ (same author) that I will likely try, as well as blueberry lemonade and blueberry vinegar.

    I recently bought a used copy of the third edition of _Putting Food By_, and just started to read it. It spends more time than necessary on warnings about canning, but has many recipes that I'm looking forward to studying.

    You can never have too many books on food preservation recipes!