This is the second post in a series exploring my favorite ways to preserve all the late summer and early fall produce without the hassle of sanitizing jars or worrying that you’re going to end up with botulism. Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing my go to, no fuss methods for putting food by, simple tips and tricks to make preserving easy and fun, and ideas for how to use what you’ve preserved all winter long. I’ve got a handful of short posts lined up that I hope will inspire you to get in the kitchen and do some preserving of your own.
HOW TO PRESERVE BERRIES:
Here in the Pacific Northwest, berries are still going strong. We love spending the weekends visiting u-pick berry farms or foraging for berries in the woods. If you’re short on time consider buying berries by the flat at the farmer’s market. When sourcing your berries, buy organic whenever possible. Pro tip: Always freeze your berries in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet before transferring to bags or containers. This keeps them from sticking together into a giant lump.
I like to hull and halve my strawberries before freezing but you can freeze them whole if they’re on the smaller side. I use my frozen strawberries for blender sorbet (simply blend in a high speed blender with honey, lemon, and ginger, using a tamper to keep things moving, until smooth) and in smoothies with banana and papaya.
Raspberries are more delicate than most of the other berries so it’s important to handle them gently. I use my frozen raspberries for baking (Red Berry Almond Blondies anyone?) and in my morning oats with coconut yogurt, cardamom, and maple syrup.
Blueberries might be my favorite summer berry. We eat them fresh by the pound when they’re in season, but also like to preserve them for enjoying all winter long. This summer, my mom’s blueberry bushes were extra prolific, so aside form freezing them, we’ve also been blanching and drying them in the dehydrator. We use our frozen blueberries in muffins with almond extract and orange zest and also like to warm them with maple syrup to spoon over waffles. Dried blueberries are great for snacking on and adding to granola.
Blackberries can be found everywhere around here in August and early September. We like to freeze them for pie and scones. If you’re feeling ambitious blackberry peach jam and blackberry sage drinking vinegar are always winners and make great holiday gifts.
3 thoughts on “How to Preserve Berries”
Thank you for sharing your preserving ideas. I wonder if you can say a little more about your experience with dehydrating. I have frozen berried (and other produce) for years, but never have gone the dehydration route. Is is simple? Do you need to blanch before hydrating? Is there a dehydrator that you’d recommend? So many questions! Thanks in advance for your suggestions.
I haven’t done a ton of dehydrating but here’s what I know: It is very simple and hands off. Once you get your berries/apple slices/halved plums, peaches, or pears in the dehydrator, you just plug it in and wait. Most things don’t require blanching but the blueberries do. I guess it helps break the skin a little so that the moisture can escape. Otherwise they take forever to dry. I’ve heard that Excalibur makes the best dehydrator but haven’t used one. We just used one that someone gave us and it worked fine. Hope this helps. I think drying would be a great option for you.
Thank you so much. It is a relief to hear that most produce does not require blanching. I will check the process out! Who knows, maybe a dehydrator will find its way to our home, just as one found its way to yours! Thanks again!