After returning from our summer adventures, we have spent a lot of time in the backyard picking raspberries. Our nieces were visiting us last week and happily they joined us in the raspberry picking task. The morning after we finished, I was delighting in my annual summer treat of raspberries with cream when one of our nieces wanted to know what I was eating. I replied, “Only heaven in my mouth!” She wanted to try it too, and after some reluctance in that first taste, she readily agreed with my declaration. If only we could have fresh raspberries all year round that weren’t so expensive to buy!
Well now, wait a minute! We can’t have them perfectly fresh but I can share with you the Midnight Gardner’s genius in how to freeze raspberries so they nearly taste and look fresh throughout the fall and winter months. He tutored me one day when I was complaining about my frozen raspberries looking like raspberry mush while those he had prepared looked liked they had just been picked. Here is his great advice:
Cookie sheet (with a rim around it, ideally)
Room for the cookie sheet to rest flat in your freezer
Pick or buy raspberries. Place approximately 2 cups of raspberries in the basket of a salad spinner and fill the salad spinner with water so that it fully covers the raspberries. To wash the raspberries move the basket up and down in the water. Empty the water from the spinner and repeat this step several times with clean water. Thourghly rinse the basket of raspberries. Now for the gentle step that preserves the raspberry appearance–gently spin the raspberries in the salad spinner. This will extract water from the fruit without crushing it. Place the spun raspberries onto the cookie sheet covered with a sheet of freezer paper. Wash more if you have them, but don’t crowd the fruit. Place the cookie sheet into the freezer. After a few hours, or once the raspberries are frozen, use a metal spatula to loosen and place them in a freezer safe storage bag. Repeat.
Alternate additional task: the Midnight Gardener wants the fruit to freeze as quickly as possible, so he places an empty cookie sheet in the freezer earlier in the day. This way, when the fruit are ready to be placed on the sheets, they begin to freeze very quickly.