Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Berries: Freezing & Making Babies

Our red raspberries are coming in now- yippee! If you are looking for a variety to buy, check into Heritage.  They bear early and late summer- so you can enjoy them twice a year.  I love berries of all kinds- blueberries and raspberries being at the top of the list.  The raspberries that don't get eaten straight from the bushes by Sam and Sadie, that don't get fed to Miriam or popped into our grown-up mouths go into the freezer.

They are lovely in baked goods, smoothies, or eaten while still frozen on a hot summer day.  You can also freeze a bunch, let them thaw and turn them into jam when you have more time.  Like, in January.

Freezing Berries (Raspberries and Blueberries)

I'm sure you are aware of the freezing berry technique- placing rinsed berries on a cookie sheet (not letting them touch) and setting it into the freezer.  Once they're frozen, they can be transferred to plastic bags.  I skip the washing step (for both raspberries and blueberries) because they come from bushes I know are not sprayed.  Unless they have visible dirt on them, I skip the washing part.  I know this may freak out some people, but we tend toward the relaxed when it comes to cleaning food we grow ourselves.  This country is over-sterilized.  My pharmacy-student-husband feels even stronger than I.

That said, if you don't wash your berries, you can put them directly into containers and freeze them.  When you're ready to use them, they come out of the container beautifully- one by one if you wish.  There's no moisture to make them cling together and you can save your cookie sheets for cookies.


Making Baby Strawberry Plants

Remember in our garden photo post I told you about how we only bought a portion of the strawberry plants we actually want for starting our new strawberry bed?  Jamey's trying a little something to multiply plants.  It's not rocket science- many others have done similar things.  I'm a visual learner, so pictures come first.

As the new strawberry plants establish themselves, they send out runners and spread.  Every few inches, these runners send down roots.  We want to turn these rooted runners into new plants (to plant at the end of your row, for example), so we are coaxing them into pots to ready them for transplanting.  As they began to send out roots, Jamey set a little pot of dirt right under the roots, leaving it attached to the mother plant.  Once the baby establishes itself well in the little pot, we're going to sever the cord (so to speak) and then transplant the babies- dirt and all- at the end of the row where we want more plants.

This should save us some money and give us all the strawberry plants we want.
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  1. I'm confused (not surprising).

    So can you SEE the runners above the ground? Or do you have to dig? Can you simply not do anything and just let them spread?

  2. Keri Beth, I'm sorry I confused you! Yes, normally, you just let the strawberries spread (occasionally thinning out the older plants after a year or two). We want a longer (not wider) row, so this is why we are transplanting. You can see the runners (stems that grow horizontally)- they grow right on top of the ground. You can tell where they send down roots, because right above that, new leaves grow. (No need to dig)

    The straw in the pictures above make it hard to see the runners, but in the left photo, you can see the runners are pinkish in color. They connect the larger (mother) plant to the little plants in the pots.

    I hope this helped:-).

  3. Awesome post! Thanks so much. I just picked fresh blueberries and strawberries, and I was wondering how to "save" them. Now, I have to give "making babies" a try. Thanks again :D

  4. I am quickly running out of freezer space (gotta save room for my next 1/2 cow). Do you ever can your blueberries in a light syrup? If so, how did they turn out months later.

  5. You're so smart. I planted 50 strawberry plants 2 years ago, and well... that was really dumb! I now have a strawberry jungle. I keep trying to give plants away but people say they want them and then never show up to take them. Grr.

    And I totally agree about not bothering to wash what you've grown yourself. But then, I let my kids eat two day old cheerios from under the table, so I may be a little lax in this area. However, I have noticed, in an informal and silent survey of friends with kids, that the ones who are hyper-vigilant and carry around the little bottles of purell are the ones whose kids are most often sick.

  6. The title of this post cracked me up!

    Thanks for the tip on the raspberries. I'm going to look into planting some canes this fall. I'm hoping they can handle a little shade in the summer when the big trees leaf out and deeply shade our yard, but give berries spring and fall.

    I, too, do not like to over-sterilize my kids' lives. I always say city kids (mine) need all the germs they can get.

  7. N.Llenas, I have never canned blueberries before. Has anyone else?

    Do you have a dehydrator? You could always dry them- that would keep those berries out of your freezer:-).

  8. And thanks for the reminder! We spent 3 hrs at a u-pick farm and got a gallon of blueberries I need to process today!

  9. I dont have a dehydrator but i was thinking about getting one. Guess now's a good time :)

  10. I just found your blog, and I loved this post in particular because I love blueberries. We pick every summer at a friend's house because she has an over-abundance of berries on her bushes and our bushes are too young to produce enough to feed the birds.

    My friend counseled me to never wash the blueberries before freezing because it would make the skins tough when thawed. Therefore, our berries go from the bush to a plastic ice cream bucket. When we come home we put the bucket in the freezer right away. When I use the berries for pancakes, blueberry cake, or cobbler I take out only what I need and rinse them under cold water in a strainer.

    I had a post recently on my blog about blueberries and shared some recipes I like to make with them. Come on over if you are interested in reading it.

    P.S. LOVE the rooster pictures!

  11. From What I understand, You SHOULD cut those runners, when you do your plants will give you bigger berries. More runners attached equal smaller berries. And I like your method just having them root into the little pot. I always transplant the runners, so much fun!! --- Miriam


Just a friendly reminder, if you know me personally please try to refrain from using my name. There are those who may try to locate me, break into my pantry and steal my pickled beets. Thanks:-).

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