This Is The Only Time Of The Year You Should Buy Fresh Berries

Imagine walking through a farmer's market on a warm and sunny day with the smell of freshly ground coffee and hot pastries wafting through the air. There are rows and rows of colorful berries — strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries — plucked only a few hours earlier as far as the eye can see! Empty baskets wait to be filled with juicy fruits so you can go home and make a sweet galette or a tart jam. According to Taste of Home, that's the only time when you should buy your berries fresh. During all off-peak months, you should be using frozen berries.

Per Everyday Health, buying frozen berries can sometimes be better than buying them fresh, particularly when the berries are not in season. This is because when you see frozen berry bags during winter, it's likely that the berries were plucked when they were at peak ripeness during summer. The berries are then quickly frozen right after to make sure that they retain all their nutrients.

Frozen berries not only have all the nutrition that fresh berries do at their very best, but they are also better in terms of taste and often cheaper than buying fresh berries during off-peak months. If you aren't convinced about buying store-bought frozen berries, you could buy your own fresh berries at farmer's markets and freeze them yourself at home, too.

Freeze your fresh berries to preserve them for later use

There are several steps that you can take to freeze your own berries at home without the fear of them turning into a goopy mush. Taste of Home recommends washing and drying your berries, placing them on a cookie sheet, and then popping the sheet in the freezer until the berries are frozen. Once each berry is frozen, engulfed by an icy layer, you can transfer them into another airtight bag or container.

The Kitchn stresses the importance of making sure that your berries are fully dry. Otherwise, the moisture from the wet berries will make them all stick together in one messy lump. When it comes to blueberries, the site says it's best not to wash them at all since they come with a waxy white layer that prevents them from sticking to each other.

Once frozen, the berries can stay fresh for at least six months and, in some cases, even as long as 10 months. When you're ready to use them, pop the berries in a bowl of room temperature water for about five minutes, dry them, and then go ahead add them to your bakes, snacks, and drinks. If you're adding them to smoothies and milkshakes, you don't need to thaw them at all!