At the farmers market, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries abound. A visit to the local U-pick farm is an essential item on the weekend agenda. As we hit peak berry season, make the most of the harvest by properly storing these delicious, nutrient-packed fruits.
In the fridge
Blueberries can be stored up to 10 days in the fridge, while blackberries and raspberries only last 2-3 days. Don’t wash the berries until you are ready to use them as introducing moisture will encourage mold growth. Store blueberries in a covered bowl or container. Store blackberries and raspberries in a single layer in an aerated container lined with a cloth. If you spot mold, remove the affected berries as soon as possible to keep the mold from spreading.
In the freezer
Rinse the berries then pat dry or allow to air dry. Lay the berries out in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze. Once frozen, transfer the berries to an airtight container or freezer bag. Freezing on a baking sheet first keeps the berries from congealing into a single frozen block, however, if you’re on a time crunch, you can skip this step.
Other ways to store
Came home with a little too much from the u-pick farm? We don’t blame you! Process before you freeze and enjoy ready-to-go summertime flavor year-round.
Combine 1 pound of berries, ½ cup of sugar, and the juice of ½ lemon in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add sprigs of herbs and/or thinly sliced hot peppers to make it fancy. Cook for about 10 minutes, uncovered. Test the consistency by allowing a small spoonful to cool briefly on a plate. Cook longer to thicken, if needed. Spoon the preserves into jars, leaving a little space at the top, then freeze or can.
Frozen pie filling:
In a bowl, combine 1 cup sugar, 3 tablespoons cornstarch, quick-cooking tapioca, or a combination of the two. Add 4 cups berries and 2 tablespoons lemon juice, mix gently to combine. Spoon into a 1 gallon freezer bag and store for up to 3 months in the freezer.
A note about thickeners: cornstarch and tapioca act as thickeners in this recipe. If these are not part of your diet, you can try potato starch or arrowroot powder. Flour works too but it will make the filling opaque, dulling the shine of the fresh berries.
Travertine Garcia is the Community Health Intern for SE Michigan with Taste the Local Difference. Contact her at email@example.com
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