Last year I froze exactly zero raspberries. I love a berry-stuffed freezer by fall, so I was determined not to repeat last year’s performance. On Tuesday, my two monkeys helped me keep moving toward the goal. Once we started picking, I realized why none made it into the freezer last summer. One, my kids eat a lot of berries. Two, raspberries are much more time and labor intensive than other berries.
No speed picking records were threatened by our trip to the patch, although several sprints were made down the rows looking for my 2-year old. Despite our slow speed, the raspberries were worth the extra effort. According to my 4-year old, “They’re like little red gumdrops!”
So far, we have picked 5 pounds of raspberries at South Barlow Berries and 9 pounds at Sandy Berries.
As I picked on Tuesday, I realized that this was the first berry outing I had ever done solo. Without my friends on the other side of the row, I focused on the little companion by my side instead. She wasn’t distracted by her fellow adventure seekers, so she was actually a big help and great little conversationalist.
Listening to her compare the merits of raspberries and gumdrops, it made me stop and appreciate all of these small, simple activities we do together. Whether it’s hanging laundry on the clothesline, couponing at the grocery store, painting furniture from Goodwill, or making bread from scratch together, there is a value in teaching our little ones these skills that goes far beyond the skill itself. We are crafting moments to connect with them and sharing memories that don’t require money or memberships.
On Tuesday’s outing alone, I held hands with my kids, chased my son, survived an awkward bathroom emergency, and laughed over my daughter’s insistence that the Russian women next to us were speaking Spanish (Thank you, Dora the Explorer). Oh, and we picked some berries (now taking up freezer space), too.
I have a feeling simple outings like these will be my favorite memories in the years to come.
Now, on to the picking tips!
1. Choose raspberries that are plump, firm, and ripe. Raspberries do not continue to ripen after they are picked, so don’t jump the gun. A fully-ripe raspberry will easily fall into your hand when you gently pull on it.
2. Morning is the best time of the day to pick. The goal is to get to the berries before they get too hot so they don’t mush in your container.
4. Get the raspberries in the refrigerator as quickly as possible when you get home. They should last for three days. Freeze them as quickly as possible for optimal flavor and form. (Find out how to freeze berries here.)
5. Do not wash the berries until you are just ready to eat them or use them in a recipe.
Here are some delicious recipes using Raspberries!
Layered Raspberry and Cream Dessert – Dougasyu
Bite-Sized Raspberry Swirl Cheesecakes – Thrifty Couple
Raspberry Lemonade Slushies – Cincy Shopper
No Cook Freezer Raspberry Jam – Cincy Shopper
Raspberry and Almond Pithiviers – Kitchen Sanctuary
Raspberry Macaroon Granola – Kitchen Sanctuary
Raspberry, Cream Cheese and Chocolate Bars – Foodie and Wine
Looking for more berry inspiration? Check out The Berry Bible: With 175 Recipes Using Cultivated and Wild, Fresh and Frozen Berries on Amazon. This book is both a cookbook and a manual on all things berries, including their health benefits and how to remove berry stains!
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