Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
We know summer has arrived when we bite into a juicy sweet strawberry or tasty ripe raspberry. Food preservation season begins with preserving berries by freezing, canning, drying or as jams and jellies. The freezing of berries is a great place for a new food preserver to develop their preservation skills. Freezing saves time, nutrients, and can maintain the fresh taste and color of fruit.
Preserve fruits as soon as possible after harvest and at the peak of ripeness. To clean, place the berries in a colander, dip in cool water and gently swish and drain. Do not soak berries in water.
Fruit can be frozen with sugar, in a sugar water syrup, or unsweetened. Unsweetened fruits lose color, flavor, and texture faster than those packed in sugar or sugar syrups. Sugar substitutes, if used in freezing fruit, add a sweet flavor but are not as beneficial in preserving color and texture as sugar.
A convenient way to freeze berries is to tray pack. Simply spread a single layer of berries on a shallow tray and freeze. When frozen, promptly package, label, and return to the freezer. Most frozen fruits maintain high quality for 8 to 12 months when frozen in quality freezer containers. Be sure to maintain your freezer temperature at 0¡F or below.
Whether you have your own strawberry patch, visit a "pick-your-own," or stop by a farmers' market, you have wonderful access to berries, and that is a "berry" good thing.