Hooks for Cooks™

Fresh Berry Tips

May 22nd, 2009

raspberriesNow that Memorial Day weekend is here, I am anxiously
awaiting the arrival of fresh berry season here in the Pacific Northwest.

When I moved here more than 14 years ago I was shocked to discover the incredible variety found here–strawberries, tayberries, marionberries, raspberries, golden raspberries, wild huckleberries and, of course, the ultra thorny wild blackberries. It’s a berry lover’s heaven here in the Puget Sound region.

Each year, I drag my kids to strawberry fields and parks so we can pluck a vast supply. If we can’t pluck our own, I always make sure that the berries I buy are plump and free of mold. At home, I store them unwashed in the fridge until I’m ready to serve them–washing the berries any sooner causes them to absorb water and deteriorate.

If I am going to freeze them, I rinse them quickly and tray freeze them on a large parchment lined sheet pan. Once frozen, I transfer them to heavy duty Ziploc bags. By freezing each berry individually on the trays, I can stash them in the freezer and grab only the amount I need. They make a great midwinter treat when tossed into smoothies, muesli and muffins.

Have a Berry Good Memorial Day Weekend.

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