Blackberries are among the most well-loved fruits in the world. These fruits are chock-full of health benefits that are keys to boosting overall wellness. That’s why it's not surprising that they are a staple in most kitchens. Freezing is the best option if you want to stock up on this nutritiously delicious fruit. We want to help you do just that, so we researched the steps you can follow in freezing blackberries.
The steps below will help you perfectly preserve the summer taste of blackberries after picking them. Follow them without skipping so you can retain most of its natural flavors:
- Sort the blackberries properly.
- Rinse the blackberries with cool water.
- Let the blackberries dry on a tray.
- Flash freeze for 2-3 hours.
- Pack in a freezer bag or airtight container, then put them in the freezer.
Those are the shortened steps for freezing blackberries. But if you want to learn more about the finer details, as you should, continue reading. Plus, we’ve added an extra section for a short roundup of quick and tasty blackberry dishes.
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What to do with blackberries after picking
Summer-fresh blackberries provide the peak flavor. And it’s especially true if you have your blackberry bushes in your home garden. But with only weeks of leeway, harvesting them and storing them can be hectic. Cast these worries aside because we’re here to help. With the following steps, you will be looking forward to packs of well-stored blackberries for up to a year:
1. Sort the blackberries properly
Depending on the amount, place your berries in a dry container or tray after picking them. Check the berries for those teeny tiny bugs that hide in the crevices. If you’re someone who doesn’t like using pesticides on your homegrown blackberries, be more prudent and follow this step.
As you go through the process, remove the leaves and sort your berries according to their ripeness. Divide your berries into fully ripe and half-ripe ones. Distinguishing between the two is easy. Fully ripe blackberries are deep black with a plump and tender texture. These are the best-tasting ones with the sweetest flavor. On the other hand, half-ripe ones still have a hint of red or purple, which is the best state of ripeness that you should freeze.
2. Rinse the blackberries with cool water
Once you’re done sorting, place the berries in a colander, and put them under cold running water to wash away dust, dirt, and small organisms. Gently shake the berries in the colander to avoid mushing them or popping the juices out. Blackberries are delicate, so you have to be extra careful when washing them with a colander or sieve. After rinsing, put the berries in a bowl of water with vinegar to take your cleaning up a notch.
You can decrease the chances of the berries getting damaged when cleaning by using a bucket or a deep bowl. First, fill with water the equipment of your choice and add vinegar to up your sterilization game. After mixing, gently pour in the berries, then gently swirl the water to wash. When draining, only scoop up the berries. Do not directly pour them into the colander as this can damage the berries. Repeat this process at least two times.
3. Let the blackberries dry
The next step is to dry the blackberries. Cover a tray with a kitchen napkin or a clean cloth, and then evenly spread the berries over. Each berry should have enough space for itself to make sure the water dries up fast. You can hasten this process by covering the berries with another layer of the kitchen napkin to soak up the water from washing.
4. Flash freeze for 2-3 hours
When all the water from washing has dried, remove the layer of napkin on top of the berries. Leave the berries on the tray and put them in the freezer for a flash freeze for 2 to 3 hours.
Flash freezing or Individual Quick Freezing (IQF) method is a necessary step when freezing fruits or vegetables for the long term. This method ensures that each berry will freeze well on its own to prevent them from sticking together even if put in the freezer using a single container.
5. Pack in a freezer bag or airtight container Then Place In the Freezer
Proceed to pack the blackberries once they are entirely frozen. You can either use a heavy-duty freezer bag or an airtight container to store your berries in. However, do not fall trap to cramming so many berries in one container or bag. Only put the right amount in each container for the best freezing conditions.
As with most frozen foods, blackberries also face the threat of freezer burn. To avoid that, squeeze out as much excess air from the freezer bag or consume the berries you stored in the airtight container within 6 months.
Don’t forget to put the storage date and expected expiration date on each container. You’re now ready to stick your fresh stock of blackberries in the freezer.
How do you store blackberries in the freezer?
Blackberries are extremely delicate fruits. That’s why you need to pay attention to where you place them in the freezer. So, how will you store blackberries in the freezer properly?
Some blackberry lovers suggest placing them on a tray. This can help in preventing the berries from being subjected to unnecessary shaking when you’re getting some food to cook from your freezer. Chest freezers come with a basket you can use to isolate the berries from the rest of the frozen goods. If you have one, take advantage of those to keep your frozen blackberries intact.
Can fresh blackberries be frozen?
Using a freezer basket or tray, you can certainly freeze fresh blackberries after picking them right off the stems. Fresh blackberries freeze but not as well as the ones that have gone through the proper preparation process.
Aside from freezer burn, fresh frozen blackberries can clump together, turning into a large block of “ice berries." One main reason why the berries turn this way is the existing moisture in the berries that should have been air-dried first.
Another problem with freezing fresh blackberries is that you risk freezing bugs and dirt as well. As a result, the unwashed frozen berries can go bad fast and only last for around 6 months.
So unless you plan on keeping a blackberry stock on hand for as long as time allows, we suggest cleaning, pre-freezing, and packing them using the steps above.
Do frozen blackberries taste good?
If you’re new to freezing blackberries or bought frozen berries from the market for the first time, you might be wondering if they will taste as good as freshly-picked ones. The good news is, frozen blackberries taste exceptional and sometimes better than freshly-picked ones.
Frozen blackberries contain the same nutrients found on fresh ones. A lot of blackberry lovers prefer frozen ones compared to the berries found in local grocers, though. Berries left on the counter or the grocer shelves continue to mature and deteriorate in taste. On the other hand, frozen blackberries contain the same flavor as their fresh counterparts. The reason? Frozen blackberries almost always undergo IQF right after picking, locking in all the nutrients at their peak until they’re consumed.
In addition, frozen blackberries possess lower pesticide content, making a better alternative to fresh blackberries if you don’t have your blackberry bush in your backyard.
How to freeze blackberries for cobbler?
If you’re looking into creating a blackberry cobbler on the weekend, we suggest buying from your local grocer or picking them from your backyard a week before. Then, immediately freeze them to retain the peak sweet and tart flavor. The process of freezing blackberries for cobbler does not need any special procedure, nor does it vary from the methods above.
To freeze blackberries for a cobbler, just follow the steps above, and you’re ready to bake your tasty cobbler on the weekend. You can directly toss your frozen berries on the mix with or without thawing them because you’ll be baking them in the oven anyway. It will not affect your cobbler.
Easy blackberry recipes
As promised, here are three of the easiest ways you can make use of your frozen blackberries, aside from turning them into a cobbler.
1. Blackberry French Toast
Whether you’re craving a snack or a delish holiday treat, this one-dish blackberry French toast with the added sweetness of maple syrup or whipped cream is one you’ll never want to be missing on your table.
2. Blackberry Cheesecake Brownies
This sweet, tangy cheesecake with a brownie base will satisfy your sweet tooth.
3. Lattice-Top Blackberry Pie
Sweeten your day with a blackberry pie that’s easy to make using fresh or frozen berries. Relish its sweetness in the summer or whatever season as long as you have frozen blackberries ready.
Keep blackberries from going stale by following tried and tested methods in freezing them. Along the way, remember to handle the berries with care as they are delicate fruits. This way, you can use blackberries to lift your spirits up by bringing the right balance of flavor when life gets a little rough in some seasons of the year.