Preserving Berries

strawberry pic


There are several ways I preserve berries here. This mostly depends on what kind they are and what my plans for them are.

You will need the following general information and tables:

 divider** Head Space

Container With Wide Top Opening

Liquid pack (fruit packed in sugar, syrup)

  • Pints leave 1/2″ head space
  • Quarts leave 1″ head space

Dry pack (containers without sugar or liquids)

  • Pints leave 1/2″  head space
  • Quarts  leave 1/2″ head space


 Container With Narrow Top Opening

 Liquid pack (fruit packed in sugar, syrup)

  • Pints leave 1/2″ head space
  • Quarts leave 1″ head space


 Dry pack, container without sugar or liquids 

  • Pints  leave 1/2″ head space
  • Quarts leave 1/2″ head space




  •  10% (very light) 1/2 cup sugar, 4 cups water
  • 20% (light) 1 cup sugar, 4 cups water
  • 30% (medium) 1 3/4 cups sugar, 4 cups water
  • 40% (heavy) 2 3/4 cups  sugar, 4 cups water
  • 50% (very heavy) 4 cups sugar, 4 cups water

Directions: Dissolve sugar in lukewarm water. Mix until dissolved. Chill syrup before using.

Light-colored fruits are kept from darkening during handling by the addition of ascorbic acid. Use either powdered ascorbic acid (available at drug store or where freezing supplies are sold) or crushed vitamin C tablets. Finely crush vitamin C tablets before use. Fillers in the tablets may make the syrup cloudy. (3,000 mg. vitamin C = 1 teaspoon powdered ascorbic acid.) Dissolve in several ounces of cold water; then add it to syrup or fruit.


Syrup Pack* – Place whole berries in container and cover with cold 50% syrup, leaving head space. Seal, label, and freeze.

Sugar Pack – Add 3/4 cup sugar to 1 quart whole strawberries and mix. Let stand 15 minutes. Package, leaving head space.** Seal, label, and freeze.

Dry Pack Pack into containers, leaving head space**. Or freeze on a tray, then pack. Seal, label and freeze. Wash before using.



Strawberries, Blackberries & Raspberries

I typically dry pack my berries because I feel we don’t need the added sugar and  they defrost and taste just fine. When ready to use I can mash them and add sugar then if needed.

If you want to be able to take a few at a time from your package vs. using the entire package, freeze the berries whole on a tray then package.

Select fully ripe, firm berries, sort, (hull strawberries) leave whole or slice. Do not wash. 


 Blueberries & Huckleberries- 
These I also dry pack, but I will also crush a batch or two and freeze for baking.

 Sort. Do not wash. Washing results in a tougher skinned berries.

 Dry Pack – Pack into containers, leaving head space**. Or freeze on a tray, then pack.



Stem and sort. Wash and drain.

Seal, label and freeze. Wash before using.

Dry Pack – Pack into containers, leaving head space. Or freeze on tray, then pack.

Syrup Pack – Cover with cold 50% syrup, leaving head space.**

Seal, label and freeze.


I’m sure there are other berries that can be frozen this way but around here these are the local choices. How about you, do you have other ways to freeze berries?

In the past I would prepare strawberries and freeze them to make into jam later. I did this because I wouldn’t have the time to make all the jam my family uses in a year’s time, about 40 pints worth. While the jam turns out ok, fresh made and jarred jam is much better, so I will take the time to put up all the strawberry jam.

Since I need to go to the pick your own farm silly me, it fianlly dawned on me, don’t pick all the berries in one day, make a few trips then you WILL have time to put up all the berries before they go soft….  I know, I know, it was a light bulb going off in my blonde head! 🙂 Geesh the farm is only 2 miles down the road…

Blueberry jam I will usually put up 12 pints and this is mostly for baking, we don’t seem to eat as much of it.

Grape forget it, I can’t get anyone around here to touch the stuff and we have such nice wild Concord Grape vines growing all over the back stone walls. Last fall they froze and turned to mush before I had the time to pick them. My plans were on making the jelly and trading it for something later on. Maybe this year.

Raspberry  and blackberry jam, actually around here its jelly since I strain all the seeds out is another favorite. Last year Daisy and I took a trip up to some power line where there are more wild bushes growing than I have ever seen and spent the morning picking. We/I decided to leave early when I stumbled upon a nicely made bed clearly made by the local bear in the area. I was taking no chances.



Posted on June 25, 2009, in Food Storage, Home Cooking Recipes and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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