How to Freeze Fresh Cranberries Before They Get Slimy

How to Freeze Fresh Cranberries Before They Get Slimy

I’ve been the person who buys two bags of cranberries a week before I need them only to find that 50% of them are an awful, slimy mess once it’s time to cook. Alternatively, I’ve also been the person who waits until the last minute to find the cranberry shelf has been completely cleared out. You shop too early and the berries turn to mush, or too late and the shelves have nary a cranberry in sight. Both of these options leaves you berry-poor.

However, if you store your fresh cranberries right, you can have perfect, unspoiled berries ready for when you need them. Stock up on a few bags now, and freeze them. Here’s how to do it.

How to store fresh cranberries in the freezer

Regardless of where you stand on the great cranberry sauce debate, whole fresh cranberries are a cold-weather gem. Use them in cookies, cakes, pies, or chill your beverages with them.

Check your berries before freezing

After you’ve purchased your bounty of (hopefully) top notch, firm, unmarred cranberries, you need to check them over. Resist the urge to just chuck the entire bag in the freezer. It’s important to check them now because once they’re frozen you won’t easily be able to tell if they’ve gone rotten or not. I usually open one bag at a time and spill them out onto a sheet tray. Gently squeeze them, and roll them around to find any that are busted, extremely wrinkled, or feel like water balloons. These berries are on their way out, if not completely rotten already. A good cranberry is hard with a tight shiny skin. They can range in color from light pink to nearly black, so don’t rely on the color too much. Put the keepers in a bowl and move on to the next bag.

Freeze them in a single layer

After you’ve sorted out the berries, lay them out on a clean sheet tray in a single layer, and put the whole sheet tray in the freezer for 20-30 minutes. This step allows the berries to freeze loose from each other and preserve their plump round shape.

Consolidate the berries

Once they’re frozen, pour the berries into a container or freezer bag. Seal it up tight and store these tart orbs in the freezer until you need them. They’ll keep well in the freezer for eight months to a year.

When you’re ready to use them, measure the frozen berries directly into your recipe. There’s no need to thaw them, they can be used immediately from a frozen state. Pour them into a pot to cook into sauce, or drop a few into your champagne to keep it chilled and festive.

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