Sunday, June 22, 2008

Blackberries: Picking and Freezing

Red spent last week at work with me, and one of the days he was there we walked the trail around the softball fields and found wild blackberries growing in the brush. I remember going to the edge of the woods or the fence line dividing my auntie's yard from her neighbor's when I was a kid and just sitting in the grass picking berries and eating them with my cousin.

I figured Red might get a kick out of picking them and then bringing them home to eat. Needless to say -Red looks impressed in the pictures below-but once he tasted one he wasn't so into it. Blackberries are pretty tart and the seeds turn some people off. They are great in pies and sauces and tarts though.

Most of the berries aren't ripe yet-but I didn't want to let the ones that are go to waste so today I went out on my own to pick them. Its probably much easier to pick them on a farm-but I've got free berries at my fingertips so I'm going to take the risk. here are plenty of snakes in the brush, so I was wary of that. Plus, the berry plants have tons of thorns on them-I just threw on a pair of gardening gloves and sprayed myself down in bug repellent. Nasty red bugs love the plants, i.e. Chiggers. I got attacked by red bugs a few weeks ago and I am not in a big hurry to deal with that again. Imagine intense itching that doesn't stop even with layers of calamine lotion, hydro cortisone and fifteen other anti-itch creams, oils and lotions.

Anyway, I got about a pint of berries from picking today. Not quite enough to much with so I will freeze them for later. I'm pretty obsessed with the idea of baking tarts right now and a blackberry tart sounds fabulous to start my tart making extravaganza.

Freezing berries is really pretty simple-so simple I feel silly even blogging the instructions, but there was a time in the past when I wasn't sure how to do it and googled it myself-so maybe this will help someone else.

This method works well for pretty much all berries, I've done it with blueberries and raspberries before when I had picked them up in bulk.

First wash your berries in a colander. Gently rinse them and then let them drip dry in the colander for about 10 minutes.

Empty them to a paper towel to absorb any remaining liquid. Don't squeeze or press them. just blot them gently and let the paper towel absorb the rest of the water.

Spread the berries out on a baking sheet or other pan with a lip on it. Doing this instead of just dumping the berries into a bag and freezing helps them not only freeze faster but they freeze individually and not in one big clump. This allows you to use only what you need and put the rest back in the freezer without having to defrost an entire bag.

The berries will freeze quickly-usually within a couple of hours. I put mine in my deep freezer-its colder than my regular freezer. Once they have frozen, you can then dump them into freezer bags and put them back in the freezer for later use.
Now, I'm off to search for the perfect blackberry tart recipe to test out.


Ricardo Almeida said...


Tha last time I saw blackberries was on Harrods (London) and it tasted like -----.

Seeing your photos, it reminds me my childhood, were I used to eat this at my journeys on montains.

Thanks for the remembering feeling :)



Anonymous said...

Picking and eating berries takes me to my grandparents back yard. My mom gave me a bag of frozen blueberries that she picked and I am still using them, I add them to my smoothies in the morning. You may have inspired me to go pickin'!!