We love fresh fruit! And we assume since you are here, you do too! We always end up growing more blackberries than we intend to because we over plant to begin with. Since we always end up with a huge harvest, we decided we needed to learn how to freeze blackberries.
Can You Freeze Blackberries?
Yes, you can easily freeze blackberries. Simply wash them, lay them in a single layer on a baking sheet to flash freeze them. Then, once frozen, you can put them into freezer bags for long term storage.
Blackberries are fantastic! They are delicious on their own, but you can also make jams out of them, put them in pie, in blackberry iced tea, or put them in a delicious fruit smoothie.
How to freeze blackberries
After growing blackberries, when we harvest them, the first thing we do is washed them, especially if we're going to preserve them. Now, do you have to wash fresh blackberries before freezing? You don't have to, but you probably don't want to preserve all of the dirt and nasty stuff that can accumulate while being outside.
What we typically do is pile all of our blackberries into a metal colander in the sink, and then just rinse them with a steady stream of cool water.
Make sure you work you hands through all.of the blackberries and allow the water to wash over everything. This will make sure all of the dirt, bug stuff, or anything else from outdoors is washed off.
After you've washed all of your blackberries and you feel like they're clean enough, you will want to give them time to dry. You can just leave them in the colander and make sure it is elevated to allow airflow to go through the holes.
Once they are dry, you'll want to take a 9 x 13 baking pan and arrange them in a single layer. You don't need to cut them or anything. You can freeze whole blackberries.
Put them into your freezer and allow them to freeze overnight. It should really only take a couple of hours, but if you do it overnight you won't feel the need to check on them every hour or so.
Now that you had a good night's rest, your blackberries should be completely frozen. Take the cookie sheet out of the freezer.
Now you want to transfer all of your blackberries from your cookie sheets into quart size freezer bags. We like to measure them out a cup at a time. That allows us to keep decent portions and we know how much we're eating and how much we still have left. This information is important if you are ever doing a pantry inventory or taking the pantry challenge.
If you are freezing a lot of blackberries all at one time, you can use gallon size freezer bag. It is important to use bags designed for the freezer. They're much better at keeping moisture out of the bag and avoiding frostbite.
Need to get all your food preserved easily? Check out the Ultimate Guide To Freezing Food so that you can fill your freezer without in minimal time.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions we have come across on this subject.
"How long will my blackberries last in freezer?"
Blackberries will freeze for up to 6 months without losing quality. When you're ready to eat them, take out a frozen portion and set them in a bowl of cold water until they are soft enough to eat. You may need to change out the water a time or two depending on how many blackberries you are thawing.
"Should I wash blackberries before freezing to keep mold or other things from growing on them?"
It depends on the type of berry. As a general rule, you are going to want to wash anything that comes from outside before you freeze and preserve it. Look at it this way, if you are preserving the food without washing it you are also preserving whatever dirt, microorganisms, and other random nasty outside/bug stuff, as well.
You may even want to try a quick vinegar bath (3:1 cups ratio water:vinegar) and rinse prior to freezing to kill off any potential mold growth. Or, if you don't like vinegar you can dunk them in hot water (120°+) for around 30 to 45 seconds.
A notable berry exception is the blueberry. Blueberries naturally have a wax over them that protects them. You can just freeze them. However, you will want to rinse them once you thaw and eat them.
"Won't freezing destroy the antioxidants?"
Freezing will not destroy antioxidants in any fruits or veggies. In fact, some studies show that freezing, or even just refrigerating, berries, fruits, and veggies can INCREASE their nutritional value; including antioxidants.
"Why are my blackberries turning red after I freeze them?"
Brace yourself, we're about to get all sciencey (is that a word?)!
This phenomenon is known as "red cell regression". Essentially, sudden changes to a berry's environment, particularly temperature, will lead to a chemical reaction that causes an otherwise black colored blackberry to revert back to a shade of red.
Research still continues on the exact chemical reaction but is not completely understood yet.
The best way can avoid having your blackberries turn red is to make sure they do not experience any drastic temperature changes in a short period of time. Some good practices to follow are:
● harvesting in the morning while the berries are still a lower temperature.
● setting up a shade prior to picking them if you are not able to harvest in the morning.
● cooling your berries in stages; like full sun to shade, shad to inside, inside room temperature to refrigerator, and finally, refrigerator to freezer.
"Ok, they're frozen. Now, how do I defrost frozen blackberries later?"
You may be asking yourself, "how do you unfreeze blackberries without them getting mushy?". The answer is not in how you freeze them, but in how you defrost them. A simple way to do this is to take a portion of berries and put them in a bowl on the counter top. Fill that bowl with cold water and leave them sitting for just a couple of minutes.
Come back and check on the berries and see if they have defrosted. If they are still frozen, replace the water with fresh cold water and repeat the process until your berries are defrosted but still firm.
If you do this too long, the berries can then start to retain some of that water and soak it in, and then they will become mushy.
If you need more help getting your foods frozen, check out the Ultimate Freezing Food Guide for a complete quick start reference so that you can have a well-stocked freezer.