These summer jewels don’t ripen after harvesting, so they are picked at their peak ripeness. They are delicate and degrade quickly, so it’s best to process or freeze them as soon as possible once you bring them home – if you don’t eat all the fresh berries first!
- Do not wash until ready to use. (Wet berries are more likely to get moldy.)
- Tip: Summer berries are small, soft, and delicate, especially when warm. Refrigerate them for an hour or so when you bring them home from the market. They’ll be easier to rinse when they’ve had a chance to firm up just a bit.
- Raspberries and blackberries lose their quality quickly. Eat, process, or freeze them the same day you get them for the best flavour and quality.
- If you don’t plan to eat your berries the day you bring them home, the best place for them is in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. It helps to maintain humidity and keep the berries from losing moisture and becoming dry.
- Store in a single layer in an aerated container or tray lined with cloth or paper towel. If space is limited, store in multiple layers separated with cloth.
- Rinse and dry.
- Place separated on a baking sheet and freeze.
- Transfer to an airtight container once frozen.
Even if berries start to lose their texture, they are still wonderful in baked dishes like crumble or in summery jams that can be frozen and enjoyed all year long.
If a small amount of berries in a container show mold, don’t discard the entire container. Instead, pick through the container and discard the obviously bad berries. Do this as soon as possible to prevent mold from spreading.
Bring Out the Flavour
To bring out the flavour of lacklustre berries, hull and slice the berries and place them in a bowl. Sprinkle with a little sugar and let sit for 15 minutes. The sugar will draw moisture from the berries to make a natural sweet syrup.