How To Freeze Berries

I am 31 weeks into my pregnancy and have reached that point where my life feels like one big boring waiting game.  I try to keep busy organizing the house and cooking freezer meals, but I lack the energy and inspiration to do much of anything else, making life incredibly boring.  The nesting bug has yet to hit and I am having trouble dealing with all the things I can’t do right now.  I have always been a planner, but I am sick to hell with planning.  I have plans galore, I just don’t have the energy or inspiration to put my plans into action.  So most everything is on hold for now and that’s driving me nuts.

I try to relish those enjoyable pregnancy moments like when I feel the baby kicking up a storm.  It’s the most amazing feeling.  There is a human growing in my belly and I can feel his knees with my fingers.  I can feel him push back in response to my pokes.  Wow.  Incredible.  At the same time I can’t help but sadly wonder if this will be the last time I will get to feel this.  Tom and I haven’t decided on whether this will be our last child or not.  I could see myself having one more, but Tom isn’t convinced yet and frankly neither am I.  So I am struggling with the thought that this could be my last and I should enjoy every uncomfortable moment.  I have to admit, I am getting tired of telling myself to enjoy these last few calm weeks.  Soon I will be crazy busy with the new baby, Brae’s school and then the holidays right after that.  I will be wishing life was boring.  Such smart advice, but so hard to do.

Like I said before, one of the things I have been doing is cooking and preserving food.  Since my garden is barely producing enough for our day to day life I have been focusing my efforts on preserving as many apples and blackberries as possible.  My preferred method of preserving blackberries is by freezing.  Frozen blackberries can be substituted for fresh berries in almost any recipe and are vital to the breakfast smoothies I drink all winter long.  All you need is a strainer, a cookie sheet and a flat space in your freezer.  You can use this process with any berry so feel free to substitute.

How to Freeze Blackberries

1.  Remove stems and stray leaves from your berries.  Rinse berries in small batches in a strainer for a couple of minutes, swirling the berries around to remove all dirt and bugs.  Let drain for a minute or two.

2.  Pour berries onto a cookie sheet and blot up any extra water with a paper towel.  That way they won’t stick to the tray as much when frozen.  When all the berries are rinsed and on the tray lightly shake the tray to spread the berries out in a single layer.  Its best if your berries have a little room between each other so they don’t stick together.

3.  Place the tray of berries in the freezer making sure the tray lays flat.  Berries will be sufficiently frozen in about 3 hours, but I do the next step whenever I have an extra 5 minutes.

4.  When frozen, remove tray from the freezer and carefully unstick them from the cookie sheet with your fingers.  Put them in a freezer safe ziplock bag, press out all the air and close.  Label with the month and year.

Since berry seasons are fairly short you can freeze the berries in small batches and continue filling the bag until berry season is over or until you need to start a new bag.

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Photo Friday – Freezer Tomato Sauce w/ Recipe

Photo Friday - Tomato Sauce

No story for today.  Just a favorite recipe and my first instagram post.  Yes, I bought an iphone this week.  Its my first big gift to myself in a couple of years, since I bought my camera, and I deserve it.  Let me tell you, this thing is awesome.  I’ve been posting lots of pictures on my twitter feed, which I use as a sort of mini blog.  If you are interested in more of what is going on over here at Chez Melissa, follow me or check out the Twitter column to the right of this post.

Tomato Sauce

Recipe from Heart of the Artichoke by David Tanis

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 8 lbs of ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • Sprig of basil
  • Salt and pepper

1.  Heat the oil in a large heavy bottomed pot over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook until soft, but not browned.  Add the garlic, salt and pepper and cook for another minute to infuse the oil with garlic flavor.

2.  Add the tomatoes and basil.  Crush the tomatoes a bit with a potato masher then bring to a boil.  Boil gently for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3.  Turn the heat to low and simmer, stirring often, for 1 – 1.5 hrs or until the sauce has reduced by about half.  Remove from heat and let cool.

4.  Ladle into glass canning jars leaving 1 inch of space at the top.  Add lids, label and freeze until winter.

Lasts 1 year in the freezer.  Makes about 8 cups.