Summer berry harvest is upon us. And what better way to save summer berries, than to flash freeze them and store them away for use in the winter in smoothies, pies, desserts, and even jam. With life being so busy it is nice to know that just because the fruit is ripe now doesn’t mean you have to make all of these dishes at this moment. So let’s walk through how to freeze berries that have been picked but cannot be used right away.
Supplies Need to Freeze Berries
- Cookie sheet (these are my favorite)
- Wax paper
- Ziploc Bags or any other type of freezer containers
Once the berries have been picked and cleaned you will want to put down a piece of wax paper on a cookie sheet. My favorite cookie sheets are the heavy-duty restaurant style. These types of cookie sheets are really versatile. I would highly recommend investing in one of these as they can be used for multiple different projects and recipes. And they don’t change color while cooking as much as the thinner cookie sheets do.
Place the berries on the cookie sheet over the wax paper in a single layer. You can do this with any type of berry, including boysenberries, marionberries, strawberries, blueberries, etc. Once the berries are down on the sheet in a single layer I put them in any freezer with enough space. We have a small flat freezer and an upright which helps to keep the trays flat.
The berries usually need to stay in the freezer for at least a couple of hours or overnight. Once they’re all frozen, take them out and let them sit on the counter for just a couple minutes to slightly start to thaw and loosen so that they’ll come off the tray easier. I will use pancake flipper or some type of flipping tool utensil to scrape them off and put them into Ziploc bags or some other type of freezer container. A tip is to not fill them too full so that the bags will still lay flat when storing in the freezer. I label the bags with the year in order to keep track of which berries to use up first.
These frozen berries are great to use in the offseason for smoothies, ice cream, and to even make some jam that you may not have had the time to make in the summer. And this way of freezing keeps the berries whole and not crushed.