How to Freeze Blackberries
In some places, people consider blackberry canes a weed. Not here in Southern California, where fresh berries cost $15 to $20 at the supermarket. With prices so high, it makes sense to grow your own. And, yes, you can grow blackberries in Inland Southern California. Ours are planted on a north facing wall where they get morning sun and afternoon shade. They are so heavy with berries that the canes are bending to the ground. We are harvesting at least a quart of fresh berries every morning - more than our family will eat. Now we're freezing berries to use later in the year. Just think of all those wonderful cobblers, pies and jams you can make in the winter.
According to the National Center for Home Food Preservation, there are three ways to freeze fresh blackberries.
Dry Freezing Method
This is the easiest method, and the best option if you want to preserve the natural tartness of the berries.
- Select ripe, firm berries. Discard any that are overly ripe or damaged. Thoroughly wash the fruit.
- Lay berries in a single layer on a tray and freeze until solid. Transfer the berries to a container, leaving a 1/2 inch head space. Seal, label and date the container and store in the freezer.
- Select ripe, firm berries. Wash and drain the berries.
- Gently mix 3/4 cup sugar with one quart of fresh blackberries.
- Pack the berries into a container. Leave 1/2 inch head space.
- Label and date the container and store in the freezer.
- Dissolve 2 3/4 to 4 cups of sugar in 4 cups of lukewarm water. You can adjust the sugar content as needed depending on the sweetness of the berries.
- Chill the syrup before using.
- Pack the berries into a container. Add just enough chilled syrup to cover the berries. Leave a 1/2 inch head space.in the container.
- Seal, label and date the container and store in the freezer.
Freeze berries in quantities that are easy to use in recipes, rather than freezing large quantities in one container.
Thaw the berries in the refrigerator overnight to use the next day. For dry packed berries, remove the berries from the container, place in a colander set inside a bowl to thaw in the refrigerator. You can also use this method of thawing for sugar packed berries.
Use your frozen berries in the order they were frozen, so that you use the oldest ones first.
Make sure the containers are sealed tightly to prevent freezer burn.
You can use frozen berries in just about any recipe that calls for fresh blackberries. Keep in mind that once they are thawed, they will lose some of their firmness,