How to freeze berries

These blackberries have been frozen individually.
 Are you growing berries in your garden? We grow strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries.

While I enjoy making jams and jellies, it's nice to freeze some of the berries for those winter fruit cobblers and crisps, too.

Freezing blueberries is a piece of cake: you just pick them, wash them lightly, pop them into freezer bags and put them into the freezer. I think that's because they're a sturdier and drier berry.

But the other berries are juicier and more delicate so they require a different approach for freezing. If you just threw a bunch of strawberries, raspberries or blackberries into a freezer bag, they would freezer together into a big blob.

So here's the very best way to freeze them:

1. Wash the berries and let them dry briefly on paper towels.
2. Gently place them, in a single layer, onto a cookie sheet with sides (i.e., jelly roll pan).
3. Place the sheet in the freezer for a few hours.
4. Once the berries have frozen solid, loosen them from the cookie sheet. You'll notice they've frozen individually, which is exactly what you want.
5. Now you can place them into freeze bags and back into the freezer for future use.

The reason I love this method is because you can easily grab a handful of individual berries for, say, a smoothie or to thaw out as an ice cream topping. You don't have to try to bang off a few berries from "the blob," and you don't have to use all of the berries at once. Slick, huh?