Summertimes are synonymous with the lovely sweet-tartness of raspberries. The trouble is that they don’t seem to last long. Raspberries are notoriously perishable. Even with refrigeration, they will only last a few days. So, what do you do if you have more than you need? Or if you want to store them for later? The best long-term storage solution is to freeze raspberries. Here we have a comprehensive guide on how to freeze raspberries.
How to Freeze Raspberries?
Although they are counted as berries, raspberries are actually aggregate fruits. However, like berries, raspberries are incredibly easy to freeze. You don’t need any added preservatives. While the frozen fruit may not taste as good as the fresh ones, it comes a very close second. You can also use frozen berries in a multitude of ways. But before you start, here are a few things you have to remember:
- Buy the fruits when they are in season. This is when you will get the freshest and most delicious produce. For raspberries this means mid-summer to fall.
- Make sure that you have the freshest fruits. They should be bright in color and firm to touch. Discard any berries that are soft and mushy. These are probably over-ripe and will not freeze well.
- Wash your berries in cold water. Avoid washing them under the tap at full blast. Raspberries are delicate and water at full force can cause damage. Instead, we recommend dunking them in cold water, swishing, and then draining them in a colander. Handle with care to avoid bruising the fruit.
- Dry your fruits before freezing.
There are two popular ways of freezing raspberries, with and without sugar.
Unsweetened Frozen Raspberries
In this method, we don’t add any sugar or sweeteners. You can use washed and dried fruits or unwashed raspberries. Just make sure that they are dry.
- Spread the raspberries on a baking tray, making sure that you place them apart.
- Put the tray in the freezer overnight or for a few hours till they become hard.
- Now just put all the frozen raspberries in a freezer bag.
- Alternatively, you can simply bung all your raspberries in a freezer bag and stash it in the freezer. However, they will likely clump together as they freeze. Freezing them apart on a baking tray ensures that the fruits do not clump.
- Label the freezer bag. These should stay good for 6-8 months.
Sweetened Frozen Raspberries
Many people prefer freezing raspberries in a syrupy manner. This can be especially useful if the fruits are a little tart. The sugar syrup actually does a better job of preserving the taste and texture of the fruit. When you do this at home, you can also control the amount of sugar you use. Half a cup of sugar is sufficient for a quart of raspberries. But feel free to switch the amount more or less as per taste.
With sugar: This is a simple method where you simply sweeten it with sugar.
- In a large bowl, gently stir together the berries with sugar till the sugar dissolves. Be careful to ensure that you don’t damage the berries. Keep your movement gentle and slow.
- Put these berries in a plastic container, keeping a 1/2 inch headspace at the top.
- Label the container and freeze. This will last close to 10-11 months.
In a syrup: This will give you blocks of sweetened fruit in sugar syrup.
- Start with making a syrup by heating a cup of sugar in the same amount of water till it comes to a boil. This is your sugar syrup. Let it cool down.
- Place the fruits in a container and pour over the cooled sugar syrup.
- Label and freeze the container. You can also freeze the fruits in an ice tray for smaller raspberry ice cubes. These are easier to use when you need smaller portions.
What are Freeze-Dried Raspberries?
One of the best ways of preserving fruits and vegetables is freeze-drying. You may have seen freeze-dried raspberries in supermarket aisles. In the freeze-drying process, frozen fruits undergo a process known as sublimation where their frozen moisture is directly evaporated into water vapor. The fruit loses almost 99 percent of the moisture without entering the liquid state. To do this at home you will need a vacuum chamber where the fruit is flash frozen. Then you need a dehydrator to remove the moisture. Given the machinery involved, this is not a method you can easily use at home.
Studies have shown that freeze-drying is one of the best ways of retaining nutrients when preserving fruits. Although there is some loss of certain valuable compounds like vitamins, it is still the best method for preserving the nutritional value compared to other dehydration methods.
What to Do With Frozen Raspberries?
You can use frozen raspberries in almost the same way as fresh raspberry. In some ways, frozen raspberries are easier to use, such as in a smoothie or in a quick ice-cream.
- As they are: Thaw the berries for a few minutes and eat them chilled. The sweet and cold flavor is a refreshing burst of flavor.
- Smoothie: Make a quick smoothie or juice. Put the frozen berries in a blender with other fruits and milk (for a smoothie) or water (for juice).
- Ice-cream: For a super-easy and quick ice-cream, blend the frozen fruit with banana and Greek yogurt or cottage cheese. The frozen raspberries will ensure that your dessert is chilled and ready to take as soon as it comes out of the blender.
- Compote: You can also use it for pie-filling or a raspberry compote. Gently heat the frozen fruit with some sugar. Mash the fruit with a wooden spoon to bring out its juice. The juices from the frozen fruit contain a small amount of pectin, which along with sugar gives you that flavorful and thick syrupy compote texture. You can use this compote to top our Delicious Acai Bowl recipe.
- Topping: Use the frozen fruit to top your morning granola. Alternatively, use the compote as a topping.
- Jam: For a quick and easy homemade jam, add a little chia seeds to the compote!
What Are the Dangers of Eating Raspberries?
Raspberries are considered safe when taken in a moderate amount. There are no reported long-term side-effects of eating raspberries. However, the fruit should not be confused with red raspberry leaf, which is often brewed as a tea. It is considered a natural aid in inducing fertility and labor. You can read more about its benefits and side-effects here. It should also not be confused with raspberry ketone, which is a popular supplement for hair and weight-loss. It is prepared from the chemical extract of raspberries and other plant foods. There is insufficient evidence on the efficacy and safety of raspberry ketones. It can affect blood sugar levels and is hence, not advisable for people with diabetes.