I like to forage regularly and preserve as much of my food as possible. Summer kicks me into overdrive on the homestead with honeybee hives needing tending, a garden to plant and care for, and fresh fruit that is rolling in like a tidal wave- fast, hard and heavy.
Unaware, or unconcearned about the busy schedule during the summer Mother Nature gives us such seasonal treasures as blackberries for example and they wait for no person to clear their schedule. So I find myself in a week where peaches are ready, apples are ripe, the honey needs to be extracted and oh, by the way all these blackberries are screaming to be plucked off the canes and made into pie filling and jams. Instead of being overwhelmed by it though, I just freeze what I can and get to it later this fall or winter.
Today is one of those days where I NEED to get too much done and the Littles are clutching at me for attending, hugs and kisses. Guess who wins? Me! Well, and them... I just simply wash up the berries in a bowl of water with a dash of vinegar (totally optional) and let them swim in their little pool for about 15-20 minutes or whenever I can get back to them.
After they are done soaking I give them a quick rinse in fresh water and drain in a colander. I spread them out over paper towels and let them air dry. I do this after the Littles take a bath too, lol. Air drying is cute and nice for babies and berries alike. :D
Once they are dry (talking about berries again) put a piece of wax paper on a cookie sheet or large pan and spread a single layer of berries on top. Pop into the freezer and let chill until frozen. Doesn't take long at all. After they are frozen, I just measure them out into a container by the cup. My recipe from Ball calls for a berry jam to have 9 cups of berries, so I place 9 cups into a labeled 1 gallon vacuum zipper top bags. I use my handy FreshSaver sealer from FoodSaver and I am set!
All berries freeze so well that there really is no good excuse (unless you don't have freezer space) to get some frozen and made into jams or jelly later. Today I am freezing WHOLE peaches that are bruised or torn up. I am going to be making these into peach butter and peach jam later and I am working on a blog post now for them.
I hope you are encouraged by this post to expand your food preserving, give it a try if you're a beginner, or maybe it just helps you feel a little less overwhelmed during peak times.