How to Freeze Berries
Did you pick strawberries last week and then receive quarts of them in your CSA this week? That's the case with many of my friends who are now looking for quick ways to process the excess. The fastest way to preserve berries, in my opinion, is freezing. Frozen berries can be popped into yougurt parfaits, smoothies, baked goods, or jam later in the season. They last for at least a year in the coldest part of your freezer. Lil likes frozen blueberries as a snack as they retain their texture better than other berries.
First, hull or pit the fruits. If they are organic and not visibly dirty, you can leave them unwashed. If you do wash the fruits, dry them thoroughly with tea towels.
Next, lay fruit in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Sometimes I line mine with parchment if the fruits are particularly juicy to prevent them from sticking.
After 4 - 12 hours in the freezer, pop the fruits off the cookie sheet. Quickly transfer them to a labeled freezer bag or vacuum seal bag. Remove as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn.
If you have a large quantity of berries, repeat the process a few times. Store delicate fruits like strawberries in the refrigerator until you an freeze them.
I have successfully used this method to freeze strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, pitted cherries, and peach slices. They stay individually frozen which makes portioning for recipes or snacks a cinch.