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Catch the Flavor now…..enjoy all year

June 13, 2012

Many people wonder how they can eat fresh, local produce in the dead of winter when the farmers’ markets are closed. Well, I’ve found that many aspects of eating  local food require one to plan ahead, and this is no exception. If you want local blueberries in your pancakes in December then it’s up to you to freeze enough in the summer to last until the next berry season.  And best yet, it’s EASY!!! (And better than buying berries in the off season from South America.)

4 Ways to Preserve Fresh Berries for the Winter

  1. Freeze unwashed berries in batches on a baking sheet and once they are frozen transfer them to a large zip lock back or other freezer-proof container. By freezing them unwashed and in a pan before adding them to the storage container, the berries will stay loose and you will be able to pull what you want for your recipe later. Wash the frozen berries with a quick rinse before adding to things like cereal, smoothies, pancakes, homemade muffins or plain yogurt. Frozen berries can also be used to make recipes like jams and pie.
  2. Make homemade jam that you either freeze or can. Pick Your Own. com offers simple, easy to follow recipes if you don;t already have one.
  3. Dehydrate berries whole or puree them first to make homemade fruit leathers (similar to fruit roll ups). You can use either a  dehydrator or a regular oven on a very low temperature. The dehydrated whole berries can be eaten as a snack or added to foods like granola, oatmeal or yogurt.
  4. Make complete dishes with fresh berries and then freeze them,  such as bluberry muffins, raspberry pancakes,or pancakes.   Pancakes can be frozen separately on a cookie sheet and then put into a freezer bag, or stacked with waxed paper between them and then frozen.
  5. ENJOY!!!!
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10 Comments leave one →
  1. June 13, 2012 7:37 am

    I’m off to the Farmer’s Market today to see what’s in season that we’re not already growing. Thanks for the tips about freezing blueberries. I always washed them first but it makes sense to wash as needed. Also, do you take the stem tops off strawberries before freezing? Seems like I always did that but now I’m wondering if that’s a good idea.

    • June 13, 2012 11:15 am

      I just this minute came back from a berry farm in Kentucky where I was able to get the last of the strawberries, the first of the blueberries and some red raspberries. Half of the blues and half of the strawberries immediately went on to cookie sheets in the freezer…no washing, no tops off. Later, I will put them into a gallon zip freezer bag as they would have individually frozen and can be taken from the bag later as needed. Then I was and hull the strawberries. Remember they will be mushy..can use them in baking tho.

      • June 13, 2012 11:31 am

        My daughter used to like to eat frozen strawberries like ice cubes. They’re also good in summer drinks and you can make strawberry shortcake because you mush them all up for that anyway. Off to the Farmer’s Market in Bridgewater, PA.

  2. June 13, 2012 11:04 am

    You forgot canning! I did a post on making your own tomato soup and canning it and I may do a complete canning post come late summer. :)

    • June 13, 2012 11:15 am

      Oh, I love the fresh tomato soup I can make soon. I need to bone up on my canning skills tho.

      • June 13, 2012 11:22 am

        I think canning only gets popular once a decade :) Everyone I talk to about canning says something like, “I used to can all the time, It’s just easier going to Wal Mart now.” Canning is true Heritage doings :)

  3. June 13, 2012 1:40 pm

    I usually freeze the berries in ice cube trays. A little easier to fit them in the freezer that way. They might stick together a teeny bit, but they’re still easy enough to bust up. Blueberries in oatmeal come winter… yum.

  4. June 13, 2012 3:18 pm

    Love this blog Beth – sharing…thanks!

    • June 13, 2012 4:35 pm

      Food is part of life……we don’t need to eat well prepared dishes to live, but living is so much more enjoyable when you have thoughtful preparation of fresh ingredients! Yeah Team!!

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