Feature Articles: Food, Fitness and Cooking and Produce
Janet Hackert, Regional Nutrition and Health Education Specialist
This is a great time of year for berry lovers. There are lots of kinds of berries ripe or soon to be ripe for the eating, both cultivated, like strawberries and raspberries, and gifts of nature, like mulberries and blackberries.
Berries are also nutritious. For example, strawberries are an excellent source of Vitamin C. They are also a good source of potassium and have folic acid, Vitamin B5, magnesium and fiber as well.
When the season gets into full swing and they are either too plentiful in the garden or too good a deal at the store to pass up, one way to preserve the sweet treat of berries is to freeze them. Freeze them in quantities that match your favorite recipe or will be eaten in one or two meals or snack times. For blackberries, boysenberries, dewberries, loganberries, youngberries and red or black raspberries the procedure is the same.
Select fully ripe, firm berries. Wash carefully in cold water, discarding soft, under-ripe or defective fruit, leaves and stems. Drain.
Then there are three methods for freezing, depending on your own taste:
- Syrup pack — Pack whole berries into containers and cover with 40 percent to 50 percent syrup, depending on sweetness of fruit, leave headspace, seal and freeze.
- Sugar pack — Gently mix 3/4 cup sugar with 1 quart (1-1/3 pounds) berries. Fill containers, leave headspace, seal and freeze.
- Unsweetened pack — Tray freeze; then pack berries into containers, leaving no headspace, seal and freeze.
Berries can be stored well in a 0 degrees Fahrenheit freezer for 8-12 months. Serve frozen berries with a few ice crystals still remaining to avoid the mushiness that occurs when fully thawed.
Last update: Tuesday, May 05, 2009