Fresh All Year Long: IQF – Individually Quick Frozen Berry Magic

Freshly Picked and Flash Frozen, these salmonberries will now be vacuum-packed and tucked away in the freezer for future use in pies, on breakfast cereal, and any other time we want high-quality berries.

Berry picking is a lot of fun. These days we’ve been cruising the shores of Chignik Lake and Chignik River, scanning likely looking spots on the hillsides for splashes of ripe orange-red among the light green leaves of salmonberry bushes. When we find a place that looks good, we beach the skiff and begin picking.

Not as resilient as blueberries, lingonberries, currants and crowberries, members of the Rubus family – raspberries, salmonberries and blackberries – benefit from a bit of TLC, especially when we want nice-looking fruit for finishing the top layer of pies or to be able to add individual berries to our breakfast cereal or to salads. So, for us it’s worth the little bit of extra effort to arrange the berries on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and to quick freeze them. Once they’re frozen solid, the fruit remains separate and is firm enough to withstand vacuum-packing without clumping. The result is small bags of gourmet-quality individual berries, their flavor actually intensified by the freezing process.

4 thoughts on “Fresh All Year Long: IQF – Individually Quick Frozen Berry Magic

  1. Greetings ๐Ÿ–๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ™ƒ are you meeting many bears with the same idea? Also, did all the salmon runs occur? Hope so, the last bear you pictured for us was pretty rangey and lean.. what a place youโ€™re in for a staycation!
    PS I grow rhubarb, life would be nothing without tart (the flavour and the dish).

    • Hi Sally. Yes, the salmonberry patches are laced with bear trails- they often beat us to the best bushes. The salmonberries are just about over. Next, we’ll turn our attention to blueberries! Salmon runs have been thin again this year, with only a bit over 260,000 Sockeyes showing up so far. A quarter of a million fish may sound like a lot, but that a fraction of what they were historically. On the up side, the landscape is filled birds. It was a good nesting year!

  2. I purchase frozen bags of blueberries and eat them regularly. I also remember eating salmonberries in Alaska.
    Your post reminded me of picking wild strawberries in Pennsylvania and wild raspberries when we had homes in West Virginia and New Jersey. The wild berries definitely taste the best. But somehow when we picked them, they never lasted long enough to make it to the freezer. ๐Ÿ˜Š

    • We used to buy blueberries at Costco. They’re very good. But we have to agree, farmed berries just don’t have the zip wild berries have! When I lived in Pennsylvania, in addition to the blackberries, wild raspberries, thimbleberries, occasional strawberries and huckleberry/blueberry varieties we’d find, I used to pick black elder berries. My grandmother turned those into my all-time favorite pies! JD

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