STEPHENTOWN, N.Y. — With pick-your-own berry season now in full swing, the New York State Berry Growers Association reminds berry lovers that you can buy local strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries in bulk and freeze for later use, with essential nutrient levels almost identical to those found in their fresh counterparts. They key is how you handle and store your berries—and it’s easier than you think.
Here’s your guide to freezing your extra berries.
How to freeze fresh berries:
- Begin preparing your berries as soon as you take them home. Pull the stems off blueberries. Pare the stems and any green parts off the top of strawberries.
- Wash the berries by allowing placing them in a strainer or colander and allowing fresh water to run over them for 20 to 30 seconds. Gently shake the strainer by the handle or use your hand to rotate the berries in the strainer, and run some more fresh water over them.
- Pour the berries out onto a clean kitchen towel, or a towel on top of a rack. Allow them to dry completely.
- Place the berries into quart-size ziplock bags, seal tightly, and store in the freezer.
To thaw your berries, remove one bag at a time from the freezer. If the contents are frozen into a solid block, place the bag in the fridge and check back in 30 minutes. When the berries have begun to separate, remove what you need, seal the bag, and place the remainder back in the freezer. Allow the berries to continue thawing in the fridge.
While frozen and thawed berries will be softer than their fresh counterparts, they’re perfect for smoothies, acai bowls, pies, tarts, trifles, muffins, breads, and parfaits. Reserve an “ugly” berries for jams and jellies, or else place them in ice cube trays, pour water over them, and freeze them into flavored ice cubes.
Founded in 1988, the New York State Berry Growers Association (NYSBGA) is a nonprofit educational association for berry growers, from large wholesale family farms to independent farm stands and small pick-your-own operations, across New York State. The NYSBGA promotes the growing and marketing of berries through the exchange of valuable information, including scientific research and farming techniques. We also represent growers in issues of labor, research, and technology, both academically and legislatively, and award research grants to study and address issues important to New York State berry growers.
To locate a farm in your area of New York that sells fresh, locally grown berries, visit our Find a Farm directory. Or bookmark our blog for nutritional information, recipes, and original serving ideas.
–New York State Berry Growers Association
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