As I walked into King Sooper's (a Kroger grocery store) yesterday, I saw the 10 for $10 sign where the strawberries and raspberries were--yahoo! I was delighted, for we at the Johnson household love berries. I really like strawberries, but Q likes any kind, especially raspberries. I don't like paying 3-4 dollars per package, so this $1 deal was great! I picked up 3 pounds of strawberries and five 6-oz. containers of raspberries.
Of course we can't eat that many all at once, so I decided to freeze them. I remembered that I saw Erin's post on her blog www.5dollardinners.com, about how to freeze berries, so I knew I could do this too. What I did was very similar to what she did, so I'll go ahead and show you how you can enjoy berries all summer long...and through the year if you get lots of them on sale!
The first thing you want to do is take out all the dead leaves and mushy berries as you rinse them. I placed mine in a colander and used the spray nozzle to get them really clean. Lay them on a towel to dry.
After I washed my strawberries, I pulled the leaves off and proceeded to take out the hulls. I read somewhere that an easy way to do this is to use a straw. Poke the straw through the bottom and out through the top. It's pretty easy to do, but with large strawberries, you may have to go through a second time to make sure that the hull is completely gone.
I placed wax paper on a cookie sheet and put my berries on top. You'll want to make sure that this is done in a single layer so that each berry can freeze individually, instead of in clumps. Place the cookie sheet in the freezer for a few hours (or overnight).
I remembered that I had a Ziplock vaccuum sealer and bag starter kit that I received free in the mail a while back. Any type of freezer bag or container would work, but I thought that using this kit would be great for keeping the berries really fresh. Measure out your berries and seal them in well. Write the date and how much you have in there for future reference.
Last night, while the berries were still freezing on the baking sheet, I heard the sound of someone munching on something. I walked into the kitchen and saw Q standing there with a bowl of granola and raspberries. I couldn't believe it! I told him that those were for freezing and not for eating. His response? "I just took a few to eat now." So, what did I do? I went back to King Sooper's today to get a few more packages of berries to freeze and one package specifically for him to enjoy now. I showed it to him tonight and told him he could eat as many of these as he wanted on his granola tomorrow.:)
And just for kicks, I decided to freeze chunks of bananas. Lizzy at Uplifted Eyes experimented with this, so I thought I would try it, too. They are in the freezer right now as I write this. They are awaiting the next step to be put into those freezer bags. I hope it works!
Now, can't you just taste the banana-berry smoothies or berry pies and muffins that will come out of this frozen crop? Can't wait!