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Freezing Berries

By Mark Mulcahy
Image of Organic Blackberries
I have a fox that walks along the top of my organic blackberry bushes and eats to his heart’s content. Often that’s when I know they are ready to pick! If you don't have your own blackberry bushes don't fret; you have the quality standards of Melissa’s to trust so you know your Organic Blackberries will be as sweet and tasty as can be. And if you are a big blackberry fan like me, you know that now is the time to eat as many as you can. You may even think about putting some up or making a delicious Blackberry Pie to make them last just a little longer. For that matter you should probably make two pies because one will definitely go very fast. Whether you gather your blackberries wild or buy Melissa’s organic blackberries from your local market, store them unwashed and use within a few days. Rinse them well before just before eating.

If you are really serious about keeping some around long after the season, then consider freezing them for the longest life, truest flavor and optimum nutrition. And nutritious they are: one cup of fresh blackberries contains 60 calories, 50% of your vitamin C RDI, 22% of your fiber RDI, plus a well-rounded offering of iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium and vitamin A. Also impressive is their high ORAC, or Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity, a measure of antioxidant activity. Antioxidants scrub our blood of toxic free radicals that make cells vulnerable to aging, and diseases such as cancer. Vitamins A and C are antioxidants; but so are ellagic acid, quercetin and catechins - all cancer fighters found in blackberries. Salicylic acid, an anti-inflammatory similar to aspirin, and thought to help prevent arteriosclerosis is also present.

To freeze them at home follow these tips:

For the best results:
  • Pick over the berries to make sure no stems, unripe berries, or damaged berries are in the mix.
  • Rinse the berries in cool water and pat them thoroughly dry with paper towels or a clean kitchen towel.
  • Lay the berries in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Put them in the freezer until frozen solid. An overnight stay usually does the trick.
  • Transfer the berries to resealable plastic storage bags, forcing as much air as possible out of the bag before sealing it.
  • If you are really serious about them lasting even longer you can invest in a vacuum sealer, which removes air and uses special freezer bags that limit freezer burn.
  • When you are ready to use your frozen treasure, defrost them slowly and resist the temptation to run them under hot water – you’ll be much happier with the results.
Enjoy your berries! I’ve got to go shoo a fox off my bushes!
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