Preserving Summer’s Bounty: Freezing Raspberries and Strawberries
Though I’ve already shared how I go about freezing blueberries, my method for freezing raspberries and strawberries is somewhat different, because they can tend to be juicier fruits that stick together in the bag once frozen.
It’s no fun to be banging a bag of frozen, stuck-together berries on the counter in frustration each morning (been there, done that). I’ve learned to do freeze my raspberries in a way that isn’t too tedious, but keeps them frustration-free for easy use!
I wash my raspberries off using my double sink and two strainers, just as I showed in my blueberry tutorial.
Here’s where the difference begins… once the raspberries have drained in the sink for a moment or two, I begin to spread them out on parchment-paper covered cookies sheets and various sized baking trays.
I use whatever trays and containers I have available, because I want to be able to freeze as many as possible at one time. The parchment paper (or you could use wax paper as well) isn’t 100% necessary, but it really does help to make it easier to get the berries off of the trays.
Green tip: Remember to use as little paper as you can get away with, and keep reusing it over and over again until you can’t use it anymore!
I try to keep them only one layer of raspberries deep. Sometimes a few end up on top of the others which is fine, but if I start double layering the whole thing, I begin to run into clumping difficulties.
Once these trays are full of washed berries, I take them all to my deep freeze. I basically cram them into every nook and cranny (putting some on top of each other, depending on the type of tray/container they’re in, if they won’t squish each other).
I leave them in my freezer for about 1-3 hours, just until they are starting to freeze but are not fully frozen and can still be easily taken off of the paper/trays and the individual raspberries can easily separate from one another.
At this point, I break everything up and dump it into my large Ziploc freezer bags. Each bag will take about 4 lbs or so, on average.
Then I put my full bags down in the deep freeze and I usually just forget about them and consider them done. If I happen to go down to the freeze later that day, I will take them out and give them a light “drop” on the floor to ensure that the berries stay separate. Even if I don’t remember to do that, usually a quick drop on the counter when I start using that bag will break them apart enough because of the pre-freezing.
Yes, it’s slightly more work, but this means that we can easily grab as many or as few berries as we need at any given time. For smoothie addicts like us, this just makes life a whole lot sweeter and easier!
We use a similar method when we get extra raspberries to freeze. This summer we were so excited to find raspberry bushes in our backyard months after we moved into the house. We’ve only gotten 2 qts. so far this summer, but it was exciting nonetheless!
Ideally I would love to do the same, but when faced with so many berries at once, it just doesn’t work this way for me. For example, this year the strawberry season was extremely short and limited, paired with going away, so I could only go once. I wanted 40 quarts…I picked 45 (about 50 lbs). I froze 47 quarts of them and ate the others. The berries needed to be done RIGHT THEN so even with all the freezer space I have I couldn’t do it all on trays. So I don’t. Yes it means clumping berries, but I find that if I leave the berries to sit on the counter for a few minutes (but not enough to thaw at all) and then lightly bang it on the counter, its okay for us. I also use the medium sized ziplocs instead so that it works for us better with the clumping issue (I have less berries clumping together). It does mean more bags, but its a compromise I am making for having to freeze them all at once. Same with the raspberries- I picked a few sessions of about 30 pints each, so its simply so tiring that I just put them into the bags the same way.
@Nola, You do what you’ve got to do, right? 🙂 Sounds like you’ve found a way to make it work for you!
We also have many, many raspberries to freeze. This is how we do it. Since we make a point of picking with clean hands, we do not wash our organic, unsprayed raspberries. They are too soft for that anyhow, being an old fashioned variety rather than a commercial one. I go through them looking for bad ones and worms (unsprayed, remember), and put the rest in fold top sandwhich baggies, about a cup at a time. Then I put a lot of these sandwhich baggies into a larger bag (usually a recycled milk bag), and I can pull out 1 cup portions anytime I need them. Since we have a large family, we never need less than one cup.
@Annie Kate, This is such a good idea! I’m doing that this year.
I JUST RESTONLY EVEN TASTED RASPBERRIES IT’S SOMETHING MY MOM NEVER LIKED SOOO.. ANY WAY I FEELING LOVE WITH THEM BUT AM NOT SURE WHAT THE BEST BRAND OR NAME OF BERRIES FREEZE BEST . IF SOMEONE COULD HELP ME WITH THIS I WOULD REALLY LOVE THAT .
THANKS TO YOU IN ADVANCE FOR YOUR TIME IN HELPING ME FIND THE ANSWER