Cranberries: Preserve the ruby red jewels of the holidays – part 1

The easiest way to preserve cranberries is to freeze them.

We see an abundance of cranberries during the holiday season; why not preserve some for use later in the year? The quickest and easiest way to preserve this fruit is to freeze the berries.

When selecting the berries, look for ones that are deep red in color with shiny skins. Remove the stems and sort out the good berries from the bad berries. Then wash and dry.

For a dry pack method of freezing, pack the berries in a freezer container leaving a half-inch of head space.

If you want to be able to pour the berries out of the container or bag, place the berries on a cookie sheet that has sides on it. Freeze the berries until they are frozen. Once frozen, the berries can be put into freezer containers or plastic freezer bags. Be sure to remove all of the air from bags to prevent freezer burn. Then, later in the year you can pour out just the amount you want.

If a sugar syrup pack is desired, make 50 percent syrup. Michigan State University Extension recommends the following instructions to make the 50 percent syrup:

  • Dissolve four cups of granular sugar in four cups of water
  • Cool the syrup
  • Pack the berries into rigid freezer containers
  • Cover the berries with the cold syrup
  • Be sure to leave a one-inch head space for the liquid to expand when freezing
  • Seal the container and label it
  • Put the container in the freezer

To learn how to can cranberries, read part two of this article.

Now the cranberries will be enjoyed all year long in muffins, cakes, sauces and a variety of other types of dishes. Enjoy those ruby red jewels of the season!

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