Most grocery stores stock frozen berries year-round, but if you plan ahead during the summer months, you can also freeze your own. It's a great way to preserve summer's harvest and it means you'll have plenty on hand to throw into muffins, pies or smoothies, or to simply eat on their own for a healthy snack.
To do it right you'll need fresh, ripe berries (of course!), an air-tight container or resealable freezer bag, a strainer and a sheet pan or tray that fits flat in your freezer. Once you've got these things ready, here's how to do it:
- Remove any berries that are moldy or bruised and pluck or cut off any stems.
- Wash them gently by placing a colander or strainer into a larger bowl and filling the bowl with water. Once the berries are covered, swirl them around a bit before lifting the colander out of the bowl to drain.
- Let the berries dry by leaving them to drain completely in the colander for about ten minutes before patting gently dry with a dish cloth or paper towel. Be extra careful with delicate varieties, like raspberries, to avoid bruising them. You want them to be as dry as possible before putting them in the freezer so the excess water doesn't freeze and cause the berries to stick together.
- Lay the berries out on the tray in a single layer. Put the tray in the freezer and leave them overnight to freeze fully.
- In the morning, label your container or freezer bag with the date and berry type and transfer the frozen berries into the bag and freeze for future use.
- To avoid freezer burn, don't leave the berries frozen on the tray for much longer, and minimize the amount of air in the container or freezer bags by filling it and letting out as much air as possible before sealing. Try to use the berries up within 6 months, as their quality decreases over time.