Freezing Raspberries involves a very quick and simple process, and is well worth the effort!
Whole Raspberries freeze very well, and having a supply in the freezer is a great idea for storing these delicious fruits all year long.
When you have an urge to make a raspberry smoothie, or make a raspberry pie, raspberry muffins, a special raspberry dessert, or whatever ... you only need to go as far as your freezer where you have a convenient supply of summer's goodness!
Freezing Raspberries is one of the more satisfactory ways of preserving the original colour, flavour, and nutritive value of these tender fruits, although the texture may be slightly compromised.
Your own frozen berries will taste much better than any frozen raspberries that you can purchase from a store!
How long can you store Raspberries in the freezer?
Frozen fruit can be stored in the freezer for as long as 12 - 18 months.
If Freezing Raspberries, how "ripe" should the Raspberries be?
Since freezing cannot improve the quality of food, it is important to select for freezing only that fruit which is at peak maturity. It should be firm-ripe, not un-ripe, nor mushy.
Gently wash the raspberries in water (but do not leave to soak), or rinse the raspberries gently with water.
Place the washed raspberries in a colander to drain. (see illustration below)
Arrange the washed and drained raspberries on a wax paper-lined tray. This step will ensure that the raspberries will keep their shape and prevent the berries from clumping together.
If you do not have enough freezer space for this step, or if you do not care that the individual fruit will freeze together (especially if you are going to use the raspberries for cooking, you can simply skip this step and store the raspberries into the container or packaging at this step. (see illustration below)
When the individual raspberries on the tray are frozen (about 1/2 hour), package them into sealed containers or food sealer type bags (such as "Ziploc"). The freezer bag you use should be heavy (thick) enough to prevent the raspberries from freezer burn. You can use a vacuum sealer if you have one, as the raspberries which are pre-frozen will not be crushed by this method.
Step #5 (Optional)
Raspberries can be frozen with or without sugar. I always freeze my raspberries without sugar. Freezing fruit using sugar ("dry sugar pack") is done by sprinkling the fruit with sugar and assisting it to dissolve by brief, gentle, (to avoid crushing) stirring.
Package the fruit-sugar mixture as soon as the sugar is dissolved and freeze as soon as possible. You may want to do this process right in the container you are using to freeze them in.
(Note - Fruits that do not have a high enough acid content, such as raspberries, freeze equally well with or without sugar. However, in some fruits, without a high enough acid content, it is important to add sugar, because the sugar acts as an important preservative for most fruits.)
The amount of sugar required for freezing raspberries with sugar is for 1 quart (1 1/3 lbs. or 625 g)of raspberries, add 3/4 cups (180 ml)of sugar.
Put into containers, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
Label the bags or containers of raspberries with a name and a date. That way you can easily identify them later and know exactly how long you have stored them in the freezer. You can also indicate the location where you have harvested the raspberries from, so as to compare the raspberry quality, etc. after thawing and using the raspberries (see illustration below).
When you are ready to use the frozen raspberries, you can thaw them in the fridge for approx. 12 hours, or on your kitchen counter for a few hours, or use them frozen.
I do not recommend that you micro-wave the frozen berries unless you are planning on using them for cooking. Micro-waving the raspberries to defrost them will most likely result in berries of poor texture and colour.
Do you need to thaw raspberries to use them in a recipe?
If you are using the frozen raspberries to make a pie, muffins, bread, etc. I would partially thaw the frozen berries. DO NOT thaw them in the microwave. Thawing them in the microwave will cause the texture of them to become soft and mushy. Allowing the berries to thaw on the kitchen counter works great.
If you are using the freezer raspberries to make jam, I would allow them to thaw slightly on the kitchen counter before making the jam.
If you are using the frozen raspberries to make a smoothie or a shake, you can use the raspberries in their frozen state.
Frozen raspberries can also be added directly into your breakfast cereal with milk. The berries will prove to thaw rapidly due to the fact that they are hollow in the center. So delicious 1 ... and a great way to include fruit in your breakfast menu!