Blackberries are only in season for a few weeks, so pick a bunch while you can, then freeze part of your harvest to enjoy later in the year.
What You Need:
- A colander
- A cookie sheet
- Freezer bags (or another freezer-safe container)
- Pour your blackberries into a colander, and rinse in cool water. Shake out as much water as you can.
- Remove any stems, leaves or damaged berries. Also remove any under or over-ripe berries.
- Spread the blackberries out on a cookie sheet in a single layer. Then, stick the tray in the freezer. This is known as flash freezing, and will ensure that the berries freeze individually, rather than in big, unmanageable clumps.
- Once the berries are frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag or another freezer-safe container of your choosing. Label the container; then, return your berries to the freezer.
- To avoid freezer burn, try to use your blackberries within six months. But don't sweat it, if it takes you longer than that to work through your stash. They'll still be tasty.
Ways to Use Your Frozen Blackberries
- Use your frozen blackberries to make cobbler, smoothies, blackberry pancakes or muffins. There's no need to thaw your berries first. Just toss them in with the rest of your ingredients, and continue on with your recipe. Frozen berries have a tendency to bleed and change the color of the batter. If this is a concern, toss your blueberries with some of the flour from the recipe before you fold them into the rest of the ingredients. This will help to contain their juices, so any color bleed is minimal. Try not to work the batter more than you have to, to further minimize color bleed.
- If you didn't have time to make jam in the summer, use your frozen blackberries to make some. Just thaw enough berries out for a batch, and follow your regular recipe. It'll taste every bit as good as jam made with fresh berries.
- If you want to use your berries to top cereal, oatmeal, yogurt or a finished baked good, just thaw them in the fridge overnight. Frozen berries will be juicier than fresh berries, so expect some color bleed here, too. This probably doesn't matter much, if you're adding them to cereal or oatmeal, but may be more of a concern, if you're using them to decorate the top of a cake. Rinsing them and patting them dry can help to minimize the color bleed, but it won't stop it completely.