Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Blackberry Harvest

Our blackberry harvest is in full swing now.  We’ve had some very hot days and when that happens, the blackberries ripen very quickly.  There are still a lot of red ones, but I’m picking a basket of ripe ones every other day.  
We can’t eat them fast enough because we’re also picking raspberries and strawberries, so I freeze them.  I think about the black smoothies, blackberry crisps, and other treats we’ll be able to eat in December when fresh, local, organic berries are not available. 

The trick to freezing really ripe berries so they don’t stick together and end up as a brick is to “pre-freeze” them for about an hour.  

Spread the berries out on a cookie sheet in a single layer and put the cookie sheet in your freezer.  The hardest part of this is to make sure you don’t forget about them and leave them in your freezer too long.  If you do, they will get frost bite and dry out.  Set a timer if you need to, I talk from experience.  After an hour or two they should be hard and you can put them into a zip lock bag or other container.  I like the bags because you can remove any excess air.
If you don’t have berries in your yard to pick, you can freezer berries that you buy.  They are relatively inexpensive when they’re in season and usually fairly local.  That way you can enjoy blackberry muffins for breakfast in December too.

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