Berries are delicate fruits that are loved by all. In the excitement of the start of berry season and during the abundant summer months, we often end up with more berries than we can eat before they get smooshed or moldy (even with proper storage techniques, found here). Make sure that you make the most of these precious fruits so they don't end up in the compost bin.
Ideas for processing surplus berries:
- Freeze the berries by loosely placing them on a cookie sheet, then transferring them into a sealed, labelled container.
Illustrated below in a Thrifty Thursday tip from Food Shift
- Blend the berries directly into smoothies or freeze the blended berries into ice cubes that can add an extra fun flavor to drinks.
Tip shared by Angel (pictured above), who was selling berries at the Oakland Grand Lake Farmers' Market
- Finally, try making a tasty macerated berry syrup that can be added to yogurt, cheescake, oatmeal, and a variety of other treats.
To macerate berries:
- Place berries in a bowl, making sure to remove stems and cut up larger berries into bite-sized pieces (this can be one type of berry, or an assortment, depending on what you have on hand)
- Sprinkle berries with sugar - we recommend about 2 tablespoons per pint of berries
- Add a squeeze of lemon juice (this will enhance the flavor of the berries, but is optional)
- Stir the mixture until all the berries are coated
- Cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours
The sugar will soften and draw out the juices in the berries. The longer you leave the mixture, the softer and jucier the syrup. Macerated berries can keep in the fridge for 3-5 days, but keep a close eye on them for any visible mold or new smells.
If you want to keep the berries for even longer, consider Chef Alison's tip for cooking them into a quick jam.