Berry Bounty!

There are a lot of tell-tale signs that summer is ending up here in Alaska. The sun rises later and it sets earlier, making the days seem half as long and twice as hectic as you try to get things done before dark. The air gets colder and, while the rest of the country has seen temperatures above 100°, you begin to miss the highs of 68° (or in the 70s, if you’re lucky) that are now fading into the 50s. School buses start roaming the streets and you no longer want to be driving between 1:00pm and 3:30 when the roads are teeming with teens and parents with youngins heading back home after a day spent in class. Fall and Halloween décor starts popping up in the stores in town, and in some extreme cases even Christmas lights.

I mean, I love Christmas, but it just turned into September. Can it wait a bit?

At my house, however, the end of summer is shown by one very big, green, leafy, and fruitful thing. The arrival of the raspberries on the raspberry bush.

Over the past three or so weeks we have gotten so many raspberries that dad goes out picking and comes back with a fairly large container overflowing with red sweets every day. We have so many raspberries we have run out of things to do with them! Well, not really, but we don’t seem to have the energy to do a lot of stuff with them.

Plus we have lots of leftovers. Like, three to four different kinds of soup. All made this week. Oh, and the farm veggies from our CSA share. Those kinds of left overs. Things to eat up instead of making stuff with raspberries.

That isn’t to say we haven’t tried doing things with the berries. We made a raspberry sauce the other morning for our waffles. Used practically two days’ worth of supply for a small bit of sauce. And boy, was it tasty.

After a while, the berries overrun us and we are forced to do something before they start to go bad. That’s where proper raspberry storage comes in.

And that is our topic for today folks!

When it comes to small berries (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, etc.) it is possible to freeze and hold on to them to use later in the year. That is what is in the frozen section of stores after all. Frozen berries. Also, frozen pizzas, fish sticks, ice cream…oooooohh…ice cream…

Sorry, lost train of thought. Where was I? Oh yes, freezing berries.

According to Alton Brown (if you don’t know who he is shame on you, Google him) it is important with small berries to freeze them individually. Does this mean you have to freeze them one berry at a time? Yes. Is it difficult to do when you have a broken freezer? Yes. Am I kidding? Yes.

Well, kidding about the first one. We do have a broken freezer, the one connected to our fridge. We call it The Upper Chill Chest. Cause it’s just kinda chilly. It will keep food colder than our fridge, but won’t freeze water. So that’s what the big chest freezer in the garage is for!

In order to freeze each berry individually all you really need to do is place some parchment paper on a cookie tray (one with sides, preferably, or a jelly-roll pan as it’s traditionally called) and place it flat in the freezer. Make sure they don’t touch each other as they tend to get feisty and pick fights which end you will berry pieces and bright red all over. Erm, ok, actually make sure they don’t touch so the freeze un-stuck together. Lay them out, one layer, not touching, on that cookie sheet you have prepped and stick them in the freezer so they lay flat and don’t roll around everywhere.

Once all the berries are frozen, get a plastic freezer baggie and make sure to label the bag with the contents and the date (this is important for anything you freeze so you know what is inside and when it was made, otherwise you’ll end up with extremely questionable things in your freezer. Trust me.) and stick all your berries in the bag. Put that bag in the freezer until you really need a berry fix. Say, December.

That’s all there is to it! This technique works well for, as I said, any small berry whether homegrown or bought at the store or the farmer’s market.

Soon you, like us, will have enough bags of berries in our freezer to last until next end of summer! So now it’s your turn! Go out there and freeze some berries for the off season! Go! Hurry!

While we wait for your berries to freeze, here are some pictures of our raspberry bush!

Looks like we’ll have even more berries soon! How are yours coming?

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