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Freezing Berries and Rocket Science

Freezing Berries and Rocket Science

blackberries freshly picked

With buckets of blackberries dotting my counter, I was telling a friend that I should blog about How to Freeze Berries. Arched eyebrow notwithstanding, and a facial expression reserved for super lame ideas, he said, “Really, Tom? It’s not as if it’s rocket science. Perhaps, you could follow up with a post on How to Boil Water.” (No berry crisp in his future.)

fresh blackberries

“So you’d think, ” I said, but after witnessing some freezers filled with zip-loc blocks of berry sludge, I knew my peeps needed help. And so here it is: How to Freeze Berries. Sure, it’s not rocket science, but the results can still transport you to another world.

Blackberries, raspberries, loganberries, marionberries, boysenberries, blueberries: Bring ’em on!

freezing berries

How to Freeze Berries

  1. Roll berries out in a single layer on a baking tray with rim.
  2. I don’t wash them; makes them mushy and they stick to the tray.
  3. Remove any creepy crawlers, dandelion seeds, errant grass clippings, or scary-looking  berries.
  4. Place tray in freezer until frozen solid.

frozen berries on baking sheet

Part Two: (See, it is like rocket science)

  1. Remove tray from freezer.
  2. Berries will be a hard and as mobile as marbles (thus the rimmed baking tray)
  3. Scoop up the berries and place in zip-loc bag.
  4. Seal bag (but first remove as much air as possible).
  5. Pop bag in the freezer.
  6. Remove when you need a cup or two or three of berries.
  7. Reseal and return remaining berries to freezer.
  8. They keep for a year or until next season’s crop (as if they’d be around that long).

frozen blackberries by the cup

Why do I freeze berries?  Blackberry pie on demand dear friends, blackberry pie on demand.

homemade blackberry pie


  1. We used to freeze pounds and pounds of fresh-picked blackberries every year. Now the deer get most of them. They do make a fantabulous berry pie after being frozen, although my personal favorite is blackberry and apple pie. Great…now I’m hungry! 😛

  2. Mmmm…blackberries. I know that you’ve outlined the very best way to freeze these, and we do follow that method for precious strawberries. But the blackberries mostly go to jam around here, so they just get tossed in an ice cream bucket in the freezer and chipped out as necessary :). But that blackberry pie looks so good, I just might make the effort…

  3. That pie–what a show stopper! Do you freeze pies? If so, do you bake and then freeze or freeze and then bake later?

  4. Yes, it’s not rocket science but it’s the very best way to freeze berries. Looking at a boulder of frozen fruit is like nails on chalkboard to me…so unnecessary!

    Lovely pie by the way!

  5. What a beautiful crop and pie!
    I like this method! Pick on a sunny day and bake or jam on a rainy, dark day.
    We line the baking sheet with foil. When the berries are frozen roll it up from the ends and up end-o it into the zip lock bag.
    Hmm some of those loose berries would be good with that special steel cut oat porridge you mentioned last winter.

  6. I did the same with a sack of blueberries that I could not resist from a local farmer. I shake them now and then because I love that sound they make when they’re rolling around like marbles in their plastic container.

  7. Hi Tom. I popped onto your site after reading your comment on our site, Feastonthecheap.net, regarding our Bread and Butter Pickle recipe. This post on freezing blackberries is GREAT! Makes perfect sense, and yet I never thought of it. Thanks so much. Can’t wait to freeze a big batch! Love your site. Great pics, too. Best, Mary Anne and Mariel

  8. Hi, yes, I groked that they’re frozen unwashed, I was wondering if they get washed after that before they’re used.

    One thing I find myself doing in the kitchen is thinking, I have to wash that, God knows what got sprayed on it when I realize, oh, I grew it in my garden 🙂

  9. Epicurious.com once had a recipe for boiled water. I’m not sure if some editor thought they were the funniest thing ever or not, but it ticked a lot of people off. Your frozen berries are FABULOUS and if everyone knew how to freeze like that I’d never have to chunk off big wads of ice to get to my sad grocery-store berries. This is becoming the twisted berry story, isn’t it.

  10. Tom – While I love this post and the photos, I’m worried that you left out the quicker way: Liquid nitrogen. We’ve tried that and it is the best (or perhaps, most dangerous) method by far. And the mist is pretty neat too. 🙂

  11. Uh, Eric…you are not allowed in the kitchen without supervision (and a Hazmat team standing by). Have you been watching Bill Nye the Science Guy? Stay safe!

  12. I wholeheartedly approve of your berry freezing method since it is almost exactly what I do. Once the berries are frozen they are suitable for vacuum packing in plastic bags. A little more work and expense but you have no ice on the berries and they will keep longer than a year in perfect condition if you have a bumper crop and the bags are reusable.

  13. Your post is for a city girl like me who had no idea how broccoli grew and almost zip log bag froze berries. But thankfully I had enough sense to google it up (and hence your website) ha. Thanks!

  14. How about this for an alternative which does work for blackberries which have a stronger skin than raspberries. Do wash the blackberries and let them soak for ten mins to allow all the grot to surface. Yuck don’t eat that! Then decant into a colander and drain well. Transfer into plastic ice cream containers (make sure you’ve eaten the ice cream first!). Allow another 15 mins for any last moisture to drain off and tip it out of the container). Freeze. When you need some berries just bash the box sharply and the berries just shake apart. Simples!

    • Paul, that is a great idea, thanks for sharing, especially since sometimes I’m picking blackberries on country roads and not in my own back garden.

  15. Berry simple, said the PieMan, eh?. Lots of smiles on this blog post. I had been freezing my berries quite similarly, except I use parchment paper underneath, makes it much easier to remove —
    But I’ve found that zipper just don’t stay air tight. So I utilize some food saver bags or glass storage snap close deals– as I do so enjoy me a berry extravaganza now and then. You could macerate in brandy first tho.. for that ooo lala moment of marachino cherry gone black moment eh?

    • The parchment paper idea is brilliant, and well, I’m a bit chagrined I didn’t think of that myself (must have been cooking with aluminum pans all those years). And as for food saver bags, I’m on it! I need to upgrade my system and stat — berry season is upon us! And to round out your spot-on suggestions, brandy, eh? Definitely a blog post and test kitchen expose coming. Thanks Blue.

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