Aaack! It's late Tuesday morning and I have no "Titus Tuesday" post ready in queue! What on earth has been demanding all my time lately, since I obviously haven't been writing?
Produce. The garden is beginning to come in - Yay! - so the kids and I are busy picking, snapping, canning, freezing, and eating. Also, with all this dry heat lately, the blackberries are abundant this year. The boys brought me two gallon buckets full of berries yesterday, to add to the two gallon buckets already in the frig from the evening before. Ben helped me make jam yesterday, and Reuben worked on getting berries into the freezer for winter-time cobblers.
So, with berries on my mind in a big way, here is a quick tip for any of you who are harvesting blackberries/blueberries/strawberries and would like to set aside a few for winter. Blueberries - I've heard these described as one of nature's most perfect foods. Pack blueberries right from the bucket into plastic freezer bags. I usually portion them according to my muffin recipe, or in bags of 1 cup each. Don't get them wet before bagging and freezing - keeping them dry will make them much easier to handle when you pull them out of the freezer for your favorite recipe.
Strawberries - I wash strawberries, drain them well, and then cut larger berries into halves or quarters. Line a tray or cookie sheet with wax paper. Spread the strawberries on the tray in a single layer and freeze for an hour or so, until pretty hard. Then, place individually-frozen berries into freezer bags.
Blackberries - our current fruit of the day. I usually use these for jam, but have enough this year to freeze some for cobbler. Rinse berries and drain well. Spread in a single layer on a wax-paper-lined tray or cookie sheet, and freeze until fruit is fairly hard. Remove frozen berries from tray and store in freezer bags.
Okay, I realize this is not rocket science - but I froze strawberries and blackberries in great odious lumps of iciness for several years before discovering the above method of preparing them. The fruit is MUCH, MUCH easier to work with if the berries are frozen individually instead of in a massive brick of ice.
Now, time to go finish defrosting the deep-freeze - want to get it washed before I pack it with all this summer's yummy fruit!
7 hours ago