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How to overwinter berries

September 24, 2019
  • Breakfast
  • Healthy lifestyle
  • Nutrition
How to overwinter berries

Freeze-dried berries at Verival & the best tips for freezing berries at home

We are glad that we don’t always have to comply with the berry season calendar and can enjoy fresh berries all year round in our Mueslis, Crunchys, Granolas and Porridges as there are many different freeze-dried berries in our breakfast products. But what does freeze-dry mean, how does it work and what is the best way to hibernate your berries at home?

Freeze-dried berries at Verival

1. What does “freeze-dried” mean?

Freeze-drying is a gentle method of drying berries. Freshly picked berries are deep-frozen, then placed in a vacuum chamber to draw out the water.

2. How does that work exactly?

A special quality of water is that in a vacuum it transforms directly from a solid, frozen state into a gaseous state in a process of instant sublimation. The intermediate liquid stage is bypassed completely, the advantage being that vitamins, nutrients and colour are retained rather than being washed out. As a result, freeze-dried berries not only keep for a long time, but stay crunchy and retain virtually all their original vitamin and mineral content. When they come into contact with liquid, such as the milk you put on your muesli, the dried berries soak it up and take on a similar shape to fresh berries.

3. How are berries usually dried?

Most other drying processes use heat to dehydrate the berries – but this also destroys the lion’s share of the vitamins. Also, since some residual moisture remains, sugar is often added to prolong the shelf life.  Freeze-dried berries, on the other hand, are full of flavour and require no added sugar – which makes them just perfect for our mueslis!

4. What kind of berries do we freeze-dry?

We freeze-dry the following berries for our mueslis: sour cherries, sweet cherries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, redcurrants and blackcurrants. You’ll find oodles of delicious freeze-dried berries in our Crunchy Muesli with Berries and our Heritage Grains Muesli with Berries, as well as in our Blackberry Porridge.

How to freeze-dry berries at home

For us there is nothing better than to refine our breakfast with a few fresh berries. So that we don’t miss out on any of the berries, we use our berry calendar for orientation. In order to be able to enjoy berries at home all year round, we have collected some tips for you concerning the freezing of berries. Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, red and black currants are the best ones for freezing. These and many other berries can also be frozen when they are pureed and can then be used directly for cooking and baking.

When freezing the berries, make sure to process them as quickly as possible. In contrast to other fruits, berries are incapable of post-ripening and therefore there is only a short time in which they can be used. Once frozen, they can be stored frozen for between six and twelve months.

With these three tips freeze-drying becomes really easy:

1. Washing

Carefully wash and drain the berries and remove the stalks and leaves. When washing the berries, be careful not to damage the berries.

2. Freezing

Place the berries individually on a plate, tray or baking tray. Preferably place the berries on a piece of baking paper with a little space between them and place them in the freezer compartment. This prevents the berries from sticking together later, they retain their shape and are easier to portion. After two to three hours you can put the berries together in a container.

If you have little space in the freezer compartment, you can put the berries directly into a container and shake it well every now and then over the next few hours so that they do not freeze together too much.

3. Defrost

To defrost, first put the frozen berries into the fridge, then defrost at room temperature, preferably in a sieve over a bowl.

Our freezer is already filled with the best berries of the season. Whether they will survive more than a few months is another question

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