As soon as you get your fresh Ontario berries home, remove them from the container and look for any that might have been damaged in transit. They can be easily identified as they will appear squished or soft. Be especially careful to spot any over-ripe berries at the bottom of the container that you missed when inspecting the container at your store or market. Berries showing any sign of mould or decay should be discarded immediately to prevent spread.
Once you have inspected your berries, line a large lidded container with a paper towel then place all of the fruit inside. Be sure to choose a container that is large enough for the job. Give the berries some space to breathe since they spoil quicker when squished and mashed. If you’re storing strawberries, keep the tops attached as it helps to prolong shelf life. It’s best to avoid the top shelf of the refrigerator since there is a greater likelihood the berries will freeze. Use the clamshell the berries came in if you don’t have anything suitable that’s larger. However, remove the berries and rinse the container well, then dry and place a paper towel on the bottom to absorb excess moisture. It is likely that the clamshell already had an absorbent pad in the bottom. Toss this out and start fresh with a clean paper towel.
When it comes to freezing, be sure to wash and dry the berries first. To freeze blueberries, place them flat on a large baking sheet in the freezer for 1 hour, then transfer to a large zip-top storage bag. This will prevent the blueberries from freezing together in big, unworkable clumps. Strawberries and raspberries don’t typically have this problem so for these just wash, dry, then place directly into a large plastic storage bag in your freeze.
There are many incredible ways to add these colourful, fresh and frozen fruits into your cooking! Check out OUR RECIPE BLOG for the latest and greatest culinary creations using local Ontario Berries.