Tuesday, August 06, 2013

"Just the Berries"

I don't know about where you live, but the wild raspberries and blackberries have begun to ripen in abundance. My sister and her boyfriend visited last weekend and we thought it might be fun to pick a few buckets. Once back home, we had to decide really quick what we should do with three gallons of berries. Below is a list of ways we thought of to enjoy wild, ORGANIC AND NON-GMO berries:

  1. Freeze them for later use. I like to wash them before freezing, as insects and tiny worms are a problem with fruit that has not been sprayed with chemicals. Some people go the extra mile to freeze them spread on a cookie sheet so they'll be "individually frozen". I am not that enterprising. I wash them, drain them in a colander, and then fill freezer bags. If you flatten the bags (without squishing the berries), they'll stack easier in your freezer. I know folks who freeze the berries without washing first. They rinse with cold water after they take them from the freezer. Do what works for you.
  2. Make raspberry jam or jelly. If you have freezer space, make freezer jam. I have a full freezer so I canned a batch of jam. If you pick a bit of lesser ripened berries, you'll have more natural pectin to work with. I know people who make their jams and jellies without adding commercial pectin. I'm not that good. I use Sure Jell.
  3. Dehydrate the berries and use them later in breads or cakes. Dried berries are good in hot cereals. If you want to dehydrate fruit (berries included), I've heard that freezing them first is a good idea. Then, when you thaw them, a lot of the juice is ready to drain away, making it easier to dehydrate without messy dripping.
  4. Use them in breads or cakes and freeze the baked goods. Or maybe you'd want to make up a bunch of zucchini bread with berries in them and take them to shut-ins in your area.
  5. Berries are a nutritious and delicious addition to smoothies. I like to make raspberry smoothies using 1 avocado, 1 quart of frozen berries, and a little coconut milk to make the blender turn easily. Yummy.
  6. You might like to can up your berries to use later in pies, etc. Use a light syrup (1 cup sugar to 3 cups water). Can in a water bath - quarts 20 minutes and pints 15 minutes.
  7. Take your berries to sell at Farmer's Market. You'd have to have a lot to do this, but it is possible in years like this year. Do not wash the berries before selling them.
  8. One of my favorite treats is a bowl of raspberries or blueberries in a bowl of milk. I like to use coconut or rice milk, but when I was a kid on the farm, I adored skim cow's milk.
  9. Make fruit leather in your dehydrator or oven. Without additives, this is a fantastic fruity treat for the kids.
  10. Simply pop in your mouth and enjoy!

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