We have a friend that makes part of his living by picking and selling berries. He told my husband that we should try spreading berries out on a sheet to freeze them. I was skeptical; I figured the berries would still just freeze together into a block that would be even harder to deal with than a bag of berries frozen all together.
I thought it would work great for the blueberries though and I figured I should at least try it with some blackberries.
I was tickled pink by how nicely all the berries froze. When you fill a bag with blackberries they squish together letting a lot of juice out and freezing into a solid block. When you freeze them spread out they stay intact and freeze much faster. Since the berries keep their shape and juices inside they don’t freezer burn as quickly and you can use fewer larger containers but still get as many or as few berries as you need since they aren’t all froze together.
You can consider this a form of home flash freezing. AJ doesn’t like that I call this flash freezing because the food doesn’t freeze instantly and there isn’t any liquid nitrogen involved. He is just going to have to get over it. This is the next best thing and this method is useful for freezing all sorts of food. It’s especially useful for freezing fruit and veggies that are fragile or usually turn to mush when frozen.
Spreading the food out on a tray allows it to freeze quickly which results in small ice crystals that break fewer of the cell membranes in the plant. When those membranes break its like pooping a balloon; the cells deflate making the food mushy as well as mixing the different cellular contents. Besides texture being negatively affected those mixing cellular juices interact to lower the nutrient quality of the food.
You only need to freeze for a few hours, just until the food is solid, before you transfer to containers. I have forgotten trays overnight and I could still get the food off the tray and bagged without too much extra difficulty.
I chop and flash freeze greens for birdie bread and to add on top of the tiels’ chop when I don’t have fresh greens on hand. They would also work for smoothies or when you plan to cook with the greens. The texture of thawed flash frozen greens is about the same a lightly wilted kale.
I also tried this with my last batch of chop, it worked beautifully. I have the chop in gallon bags and I can just scoop out a daily portion with absolutely no fuss.
I blanch peas (1 minute) and green beans (3 minutes) before freezing them but really you should theoretically be able to flash freeze either without blanching, I have yet to try it though.
I’ve done this with sliced bananas, berries, greens, chop, peas and beans. I’m confident this would also work perfectly with lots of other things such as peppers, onions, cooked beans, homemade tater-tots and leeks. The possibilities are endless!!!You can find a flash freezing update and a video of flash freezing chop now, just follow the link.
This post is participating in The Homestead Barn hop, Healthy Tuesdays, Real Food Wednesdays, HomeAcre and Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways blog Hops, check them out to find other great blogs like ours!
I hope you found information and inspiration, come back soon!
Bev · September 13, 2013 at 3:48 am
I have used this process for several years and I love it!
Emily Swezey · September 13, 2013 at 3:58 am
Me too! I feel like such a duffes not realizing how awesome it works soon.
Sis. Sabriena · September 13, 2013 at 1:03 pm
A sister in an assembly out here was telling me about that recently, and Tammy had, too. I haven’t actually done it, but recently I pureed some peaches, froze them in non-freezer bags, and then put those inside gallon freezer bags so I didn’t have to buy as many expensive freezer bags. 🙂 You probably already knew about that (and I’m positive you know about freezing them flat so you have more space in the freezer. lol). Mother just told me about it when she was out here. So Kali had told me you wanted invited to our blogs, but she never told me that you actually had one yourself! (Several people have asked to be invited just to read, but don’t have their own blog) When I saw the title of your blog on Kali’s friend list, I thought “That sounds like Emily, but it probably isn’t.” Sorry about such a long comment. 🙂
Emily Swezey · September 15, 2013 at 12:49 am
Oh yes, I have got very good at packing as much food into a freezer as possible ;)I love long comments! I hope you enjoy my blog and visit again.
Chief Instructor · September 18, 2013 at 12:06 am
I do this with my homemade link sausage. “Flash” freeze the links, THEN put them in the vacuum seal bags for long-term storage. As with the fruit, they keep their shape and don’t flatten out.
Emily Swezey · September 18, 2013 at 2:43 am
mmm…homemade sausage…we really need to make some, it sounds so good with our sauerkraut! I am sold on this freezing method and you’ve made me think of even more things to freeze this way! Thanks for visiting and please come back soon-maybe with some sausage 😀 ?
Emily Swezey · September 18, 2013 at 2:46 am
Oh Hey! I notices you are supporter of our second amendment rights, check out the 4th of July post, trust me you will appreciate it! http://lovinglifefromscratch.blogspot.com/2013/07/our-4th-concealed-carry-rcw-and-cops.html
Anonymous · September 18, 2013 at 6:13 pm
I used to do this, but I don’t have extra room in my freezer to put the sheets now. With our size of family usually I can just make one monster cobbler etc. They look so much prettier this way and even cooked hold their shape.Gale
Emily Swezey · September 18, 2013 at 6:45 pm
Hey, I hear ya! Its just us two and our freezers are full and when we butcher they will be stuffed and that isn’t even including if we have a successful hunt- god willing.
Summers Acres · September 26, 2013 at 1:43 am
Oh, I wish I had known this when our berries were coming in. I want to definitely try this next season. I just wanted to stop by and let you know that your post will be featured at Thursday’s The HomeAcre Hop. I will also tweet, facebook, and +1 your post. Please stop by and grab the featured button at:http://summersacres.blogspot.com/2013/09/the-homeacre-hop-38-and-soap-giveaway.htmlCongrats!~Ann
Emily Swezey · September 26, 2013 at 2:54 am
I can’t help but think of all the berries we bagged and smashed over the years and cringe, if only we had known about this then! Thanks for featuring me! I feel bad though, since I’m not writing anything new this week so I won’t be participating in the blog hop. I’m not entirely sure what you mean by the “featured button”? Please stop by again!