How to freeze raspberries, blueberries, currant, strawberries, and other berries. The good thing about most berries is that they are great fresh or frozen.
Berries are the most nutritious in the fruit category, plus they grow well in cold climate. We grow many varieties of berries in our garden and like to freeze them for winter. This way we can eat fresh berries every day. We enjoy them for breakfast with porridge or muesli, in smoothies and desserts.
Here is how to freeze berries
For freezing choose fresh berries that are just picked. As berries ripen we pick them and freeze. It is amazing how many berries can be preserved when you freeze them one bag at the time. To wait until all berries are ripe can lead to overripe berries. Overripe berries are better for jam than for freezing.
1. Gently wash the berries and strain to get as much water out as you can. Tender berries like raspberries or blackberries do not have to be washed if you handpick them. If you choose to wash be very gentle not to end up with mashed berries.
Currant berries can be frozen with or without the stem. Especially red and white currant get easily squeezed by removing the stem, freeze them with the stem first, and then remove the berries from the stem after. This can be done by hand or using a fork.
Also, seabuckthorn is best to pick frozen, just put a berry cluster into the freezer, it will be much easier the get them off frozen.
2. Spread the berries on a baking sheet in a single layer. You can line the sheet with a liner, the Pastry Mat works great for that. Freezing the berries in a single layer prevents them from sticking together. This way you can take out just a hand full each morning, or as many as needed for your recipe and freeze the rest.
An exception to freezing in a single layer are strawberries. It is not that they can’t be frozen just the same, but I find that especially big strawberries do not stick too much together simply frozen in a bag.
Berries like raspberries, blueberries, saskatoons, raspberries, currants, blackberries, alpine strawberries, and other small berries are better frozen in a single layer first.
3. Place the sheet into the freezer for a couple of hours or overnight. If you have a small freezer choose a small sheet, or just use a plate.
4. Transfer the frozen berries into freezer bags. If you lined the sheet, you can just grab the liner by the corners and lift the berries over into the bag. Without a liner, the berries often stick to the sheet. I find using a metal turner helpful.
5. Label the bags, and store in the freezer. The general rule is that frozen berries last for 12 months. But we have had some longer than that. Important is that they stay frozen at all time.
Now you can enjoy fresh berries all winter. For example with yogourt on chickpea flour waffles.
What is your favorite berry to freeze and use?
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See I am lazy and just shove them in a bag and stick them in the freezer- then get frustrated when they are all stuck together….
OK, Sarah, you are not lazy. But yes, freezing them first on a sheet helps a lot.
Mmmm we’ll have lots of raspberries I hope next year since we planted 5 bushes this year! We froze our blueberries this way last month.
Andrea @the Distracted Housewife.com says
Raspberries are my favorite too!!! This is so simple I am kicking myself for not thinking of it.
Kristen from The Road to Domestication says
I’ve never done this before – what is the reason for freezing them on the sheet first?
It is just so they do not stick together and you can take out the portion you want.
Lorelai @ Life With Lorelai says
I like the idea of freezing them in a single layer so they aren’t all clumped together when you go to use them. I would imagine you could place the pre-frozen berries into individually serving sized bags and then place those bags into a large bag. I do that with tomatoes and peppers from our garden so I don’t have to defrost too many at one time.
Life With Lorelai
I find the raspberrys do not stick together at all, it is easy to get out separate servings. But I can see how helpful it is with other frozen things, thank you for the tip!
Whitney Jones says
Good to know. I used to pick them on a farm that I volunteered at. How long can they last in the freezer?
My I usually gone before the winter is over, so not sure. But I think for a year easily.
Beth Btillstrom says
I had hoped to have raspberries to freeze this year, but the early summer harvest was small due to the weather. Here’s hoping the fall harvest is larger and I can use your tips. Thanks!
Hope so for you too, we just got the first Frost warning today :(.
Laura @ The Rookie Cook says
I always wash mine beforehand (too icky otherwise, I think!!) and then let them sit out for several hours/overnight before freezing them since I don’t bother freezing on cookie sheets usually. I had one bad experience with cookie sheet freezing (the sheet was too large that it didn’t let the freezer completely close, only I didn’t notice this until the freezer was nearly thawed) so I don’t usually do it anymore 🙂
Oh my, this is a bad experience. Interesting that you wash them, I am always afraid they will be all mushy, that is why I do not do it.
Kathy Shea Mormino, The Chicken Chick says
Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop this week!
Kathy Shea Mormino
The Chicken Chick
Lisa Bertolini says
This is exactly how my mom freezes berries. Makes it so much easier to get a small amount out every now and then. Otherwise they all stick together.
I can’t wait for raspberry harvest season! I’m hoping to be able to freeze a lot of our berries this year, but they always seem to get eaten before they make it to the kitchen…. 🙂
I hear you! It takes a lot of picking to get some to the freezer, but so worth it!
Hi Anna, my mother in law freezes tons of raspberries every year and uses a good method as well with out having to do the cookie sheet part. She fills a freezer bag 3/4 full of raspberries, places it flat in the freezer, then comes the next day and ruffles the bag to break up the raspberries that froze together the night before, and that relieves the problem. Works very well..
That is a great tip, thank you for sharing!