From: Preserving Food at Home
brought to you by the National Center for Home Food Preservation, hosted by the University of Georgia ®
Some of us are in the middle of it, some have seen strawberries come and go for this year, and some of us are still waiting for blueberries. Berries are a favorite for jams, whether a full flavor using one berry, or in combinations that allow our creative streak to show. Strawberry-raspberry, blueberry-blackberry, or even 3 or more berries in combination. Yum! As I write this, I’m past my morning breakfast decisions but now my mind is thinking ahead to what I can stir into my yogurt at lunch.
Another way to preserve our delicate, hand-picked berries is by freezing. Now we can start thinking about future pies, cereal toppings, or a quick, refreshing smoothie.
A dry pack is simply placing clean berries in freezer containers, sealing the container, and freezing. Unless they are tray packed (see below), they might clump together and be difficult to separate into individual berries. Note: If you do wash blueberries before freezing, dry blueberries completely after rinsing, or else the moisture on the blueberry skin will cause tougher skins.
A tray pack works well to help maintain the shape of each individual berry and keeps them easy to remove from the container and separate from each other. This method is called a tray pack because after rinsing the berries, you spread them in a single layer on a shallow tray (like a cookie sheet), then carefully lift the tray into the freezer without causing berries to touch each other. As soon as they freeze, seal the berries in an airtight container and place them back into the freezer so they don’t get freezer burn.