by Shirley Camp, Master Canner and retired University of Illinois Extension Educator
If you have an abundance of berries, you may want to freeze some for later use. My favorite way of freezing berries is to lightly rinse them and remove any debris and the caps, make sure all water is removed and place the berries on a tray or cookie sheet in a single layer. This is called individual quick frozen (IQF) which means you freeze them individually, and then transfer the berries to a freezer bag, label, and date.
IQF berries are great because you can pour out only the amount of berries you need for a recipe and keep the rest frozen. You do not have a big “chunk” of berries to deal with.
Some like to add sugar to the berries for freezing. To do this, wash and dry the berries and combine with the amount of sugar you like, trying not to crush the berries as you add the sugar. Package in freezer containers, label, and freeze. This is good for berries intended for shortcake or baked desserts. Keep in mind that when thawed, due to the high water content, the cells within the berries break during freezing and the thawed berries will be slightly mushy.
Berries may also be frozen in sugar syrup which is made by boiling together water and sugar (the amount depends on how sweet you want the berries to be) and cooling this syrup. Package the berries in a rigid container and add syrup to cover the berries then place a piece of crumbled waxed paper on top to keep the berries submerged in the syrup. Label, date, and freeze.
One of my favorite ways to freeze berries is to use pectin syrup. This is a very lightly sweetened syrup made of sugar, water, and pectin as follows:
In a small saucepan, mix together 1 box of regular powdered pectin with 1 cup of water and boil for one minute. Add ½ cup of granulated white sugar and stir until dissolved. Pour this mixture into a 2-cup glass measuring cup and add enough COLD water to make 2 cups. Chill. This syrup is then poured over prepared berries – use just enough syrup to form a thin film. Package, label, date, and freeze the berries. Two cups of this mixture is enough to coat about 16 pints of berries so you can see that the fruit is just lightly coated, not drenched.
About Shirley - Shirley Camp, MS, RD, LDN is veteran educator and retired University of Illinois Extension specialist who helped develop the canning education curriculum for Illinois and taught for almost 40 years. During the nearly 40 years that she worked for Extension, Shirley received a Masters of Extension Education degree from the University of Illinois and completed the requirements and examination to become a Registered Dietitian. Shirley interacts with canning enthusiasts every day on her canning blog and on her Facebook page.
# # #
For additional information or to arrange for interviews with Mrs. Wages corporate executives or product development team, please contact:
Liz Lareau (B&LPR) - 309.764.7860
Additional Photography (click on the image to download a high resolution image for use):
Canning Expert Shirley Camp – Retired University of Illinois County Extension Specialist