By Irene Hayton

If you’re fortunate to have fresh berry farms in your area, you may want to consider investing some time going to one and picking your own berries to freeze and have on hand for the rest of the year. You’ll save a lot of money if you pick your own and freeze them compared to buying them from the grocery store later in the year when they’re not in season. I personally like to add them to smoothies, which make a quick, healthy breakfast, lunch, or snack. They’re also great to add to fruit crisps or crumbles.

Here in British Columbia raspberries are now ready to be picked. You can still buy strawberries at some berry farms. Blueberries will be ready in a week or so and blackberries during the last week of July. Even if you don’t have time to pick them yourself, you’ll often still save money buying them from the berry farms compared to getting them fresh at the grocery stores.

To freeze the berries, place them in a single layer on cookie sheets and put them into the freezer for a few hours until they are frozen. Transfer to plastic freezer bags and seal tightly by sucking any excess air out of the bags using a straw. I find it’s best to double-bag the berries to avoid freezer burn—the outer bag can be reused once your finished with it.

See the Health Tip for June 2006 for “The Health Benefits of Berries.”