Raspberries! They’re one of those lovely summer jewels, the fruits you always want when they are not in season :) When they are in season and you can find them everywhere: to freeze or to fizz? is the question.
Here’s the general method for freezing berries of any kind or turning them into a refreshing summer fizz!
Content below was originally published at Naturopath.ca …
When you’ve had your fill of eating your raspberries fresh, freeze some raspberries while they are still in season! If you buy them straight from your farmers as I do, then you know the source was reliable and organic. You’re better off knowing what exactly went into your freezer, how, and when. Freeze some now to avoid paying the middle man later. Below is the general method to freeze summer berries in the best way to last you about a year.
Fortunately for me, I live in North America’s berry capital, Cascadia or as it’s called in the U.S., the Pacific Northwest :) I find more berries, more easily than most people can and I always set some aside for the rest of the year.
Yes, frozen fruits are not as great as fresh ones. Eat seasonally most of the time, but when you have nothing at home in the winter, when it’s too cold out and otherwise not convenient to find fresh fruits, you’ll be happy you froze a bit of your summer loot. Eating locally and eating a variety of foods have many merits for your health and for the world’s health, too, and freezing properly lets you eat more locally, and still a variety of foods, in more of the year.
Berries, cherries, and a lot of other produce have been badly affected by whack weather changes around the world this year — whether it’s from global warming already or just a rough year. A few weeks ago, I found some of the great raspberries you see here from my farmers’ markets and I froze them right away.
When you are freezing raspberries, you want to make sure first that you buy them nice and plump, bright in color, and a little firm. If the raspberries have stems in them, it means they were picked too soon. They are such a delicate fruit — perfection is kinda hard to find, but if you’re in an area where many grow, you can do it. Ask your farmers first-hand when their fruit is at its peak!
Berries perish quickly, so you want to finish your processing as quickly as possible. I bring them from the market, rinse them, and gently shake out excess water. Then, I lay them in a single layer on a baking sheet, spread out so they are not touching each other. Put them in the freezer on the baking sheet. In an hour or so, when they are solid, seal them in a ziploc bag, and label it with the date. This way they freeze as a separate fruit and not as one solid lump.
I only freeze what look perfect, beautiful, and not bruised at all! Freezing and revival later are not for the meek. It is best to use the frozen berries within a year, but I am lucky if mine last more than 6 months ;) All the rest of the berries, we eat that day or we turn them into something fun — like a sauce to pour over some vanilla ice cream, or the same sauce goes amazingly well in a dressing over spinach salad. Make a sorbet, or make a light refreshing drink like the Raspberry Fizz I show here, or make bellinis by adding some prosecco.
To make my syrup, I mashed up raspberries and mint leaves with sugar, then pushed it all through a sieve. Then I added seltzer water and called it a Raspberry Fizz! It was refreshing and a great pay off for all the work I did freezing the rest of the berries :)