Plot tips: how to freeze your berries
If, like me, you've been down the allotment as often as possible to water to keep your beloved plants alive in this hot hot summer you will have had ample opportunity to pick berries. Strawberries earlier in the year then raspberries, blueberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants and the blackberries are even starting to ripen already. So what do you do with this abundance of fruit when you can't possibly eat any more straight off the plant?
Well first, make a summer pudding. Then freeze your berries. This opens up a world of opportunity for you! Frozen berries in your cocktails, easy blend smoothies or ice cream (perfect in this heatwave!) ore even an ice cold treat for the small furry friends in your life (do check if they can eat them but both my bunnies & Ralph love a frozen blackberry). It also means if you fancy a strawberry jelly in February you've got what you need in your freezer. Here I'm going to hand over to Mum who has had an allotment for what feels like forever and who is gonna talk you through the best way to freeze berries, how long they keep and how best to use them.
Peas, love & cider,
Open freezing is a great method for storing soft fruit that you have a glut of or when time does not allow you to use it before it goes off. Buying fruit when in season can also be cheaper, open freezing is a good way to store the fruit. The method I use does not involve sweetening the fruit by sprinkling with sugar, which you can do just before you place the tray in the freezer if you wish too.
The fruit I’m freezing are blackberries picked from our allotments and my garden. Having ripe blackberries in July is a first for me, they are ripening very quickly in this hot weather.
- Pick firm berries that leave the bush without being tugged otherwise it is not ready yet.
- Once picked, wash your fruit gently under running water into a sieve. I don’t know if it’s because it is earlier in the year but I found a lot of grubs on mine which I don’t usually have.
- Prepare a tray with that will fit in your freezer by lining with baking paper. This is important otherwise the fruit will stick to your tray and break apart when you try to move it.
- Pick out the firmer berries that have stayed whole after washing and place these on the lined tray not touching each other. If you have a lot that have fallen apart you can freeze them together in a container.
- Place the tray in the freezer for a couple of hours or over night then store them in a suitable container to use when needed. They are best used from frozen and last for 6 months in the freezer.