Frozen berries are a great way to add fresh fruit to your baked goods. They are convenient, affordable, and taste just as good as fresh berries. Frozen berries can be used in pies, tarts, muffins, pancakes, waffles, and smoothies.
When baking with frozen berries, always thaw them first. Thawing them ensures that they will cook evenly and not turn into mush. You can thaw them in the refrigerator overnight or on the counter for a few hours.
If you are using frozen berries in a recipe that calls for fresh berries, use about ¾ of the amount of frozen berries called for in the recipe. For example, if a recipe calls for 1 cup of fresh blueberries, use ¾ cup of frozen blueberries instead.
Here are a few tips and tricks to using frozen berries:
Quality of Frozen Berries
Many people think that purchasing fresh berries ensures that you get the best quality and taste berries possible. However, that is definitely not true. Sure, fresh berries can be great, but frozen berries are just as good, if not better!
Frozen berries are picked at the peak ripeness and flash frozen to preserve their taste. The process of picking berries at the peak of ripeness means they are ready to eat and the nutrients and vitamins are in a frozen state, making them as healthy as possible.
One way to look at it is that fresh strawberries are picked and shipped before they’re ready. On the other hand, you have berries that are picked before they are ripe in order to transport better.
Many people don’t realize that what they get from eating a fresh berry is just a fraction of the nutrition they can get from a dried berry.
The next time you question whether fresh berries are the way to go, consider frozen berries instead. They’re better than fresh because they’ve been frozen and stored at optimum conditions to ensure their quality.
While you may opt to grab a bag of frozen berries right out of your grocer’s freezer, you can also choose to freeze berries yourself for future use.
If there is a good sale on berries at the store or you are lucky enough to grow berries in your back yard, an abundance of berries is never a bad thing! you want to start growing your own berries, check out our tutorial here.
berries look like they are ready to be frozen, skip the rinsing. Place the berries in a plastic bag or container and store them in the freezer.
If you freeze strawberries, the best way to make them easier to use is to remove the stems and then slice them.
Now, what to do with that bag of fresh berries after they’re picked? There’s the easy answer – bake them into your next batch of muffins.
Do Not Thaw Your Berries
You know that fresh, organic fruits are the best, and when you have a surplus you don’t want to waste. Frozen berries are packed full of nutrients, and if you’re looking to save money, then frozen berries may just be the better choice.
That is why a frozen bowl of berries can look like a mushy mess. All that extra water is going to do harm to your baked goods and water down your batters. Too much water will make your muffins too dense, your pies soggy and your sweet breads not rise.
While it is true that if you keep your berries frozen for too long they can become mushy, frozen fruits can actually be a great addition to your baking. The berries will be fresh and soft and the baking will have a different flavor to it.
Frozen berries should be kept frozen until just before baking, so they can thaw and cook easily.
Toss The Fruit in Flour
When it comes to making baked goods such as cookies, muffins and pies, it’s very important to get all of the ingredients in the correct order. The best order for this is: flour, butter, sugar, milk, eggs, vanilla, baking powder, lemon juice, and frozen berries.
Frozen fruit sinks when added to baked goods because they are heavy. When baked, the heavier fruit sinks to the bottom of the baking dish as the lighter mixture rises above it. This can be a problem because it makes it difficult to evenly distribute fruit and batter in a pan.
Sometimes when we bake a cake or muffin, we want to have the fruit sit on top of the batter, and then we’d like the fruit to be able to stay put while baking.
This problem can easily be fixed! Before you add the berries to the batter you are making, toss them in a tablespoon or two of regular flour.
This trick works for any kind of frozen fruit and is especially helpful if you are making muffins or quick breads where the frozen berries often fall subject to the frozen berry sink.
Bake for Longer
It’s important to note that adding frozen ingredients will decrease the temperature of the batter. If you are using frozen berries, you will want to make sure you bake your items for longer.
The baking times vary depending on the product you’re baking, but the amount of time you need to bake will depend on the amount of time it takes for the berry mixture to thaw.
So if you’re making muffins, for example, you’ll probably only need to add a few minutes more baking time to account for the time it takes for the berry mixture to thaw.
Baking an entire pie with frozen berries can take anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes longer than a regular pie. However, if you are baking an entire berry pie using frozen berries, you may need upwards of 10 more minutes in the oven to get the correct texture. Before you pull your baked goods out of the oven, be sure to check and ensure they are done.
You’re going to have to bake the fruit before putting it in the oven.
Increase the Thickener
Frozen berries can make pies rise and firm, but they can also lead to uneven baking. To prevent baked goods from becoming soggy, remove the frozen berries before baking begins, so you don’t lose the valuable moisture.
The more berries, the more extra water! To help you combat this extra moisture, you can add a thickening agent to your baking or, if there is already a thickener being used, increase it when replacing fresh berries with frozen berries.
When making a cobbler, you might want to consider using a cornstarch-based thickeners as it will not only keep the cobbler from turning out too dry, but also add to its overall sweetness. You can do this by mixing a tablespoon of cornstarch into the fruit filling.
If you want to bake a pie that sets nicely, keep a close eye on it and don’t hesitate to add a little more cornstarch if needed.
Keep it Open
It’s important to make sure that the top of the pie isn’t sealed shut so that the juices from the fruit can evaporate as the pie bakes. This ensures that the top won’t bubble over during cooking.
When making a pie from scratch, avoid making a top crust. The moisture in the pie gets trapped and makes the pie soggy. Make sure to buy a good pie crust so your pie is properly prepared before filling.
Taste Before You Bake
It’s not uncommon to eat one or two berries right off the tree before you even make it home. When it comes to frozen berries, it’s a totally different story. You should definitely chew on these frozen berries just as you would if they were still on the tree.
When planning to make a special dessert at your home, try a few berries of different colors and varieties. This will give you the chance to experiment with new recipes and flavors. You might even consider having a contest with your friends to see who comes up with the best idea!
For some of the food items in your meal, there may be alternatives that are just as effective in terms of flavor and texture. It’s always a good idea to try them! If you want to go beyond the basics, why not use the frozen fruit?
Adjust the spices as needed, adding some more cinnamon, a little lemon juice or maybe just some more berries to enhance the taste. Once your foods are ready, it’s not going to be possible to make any more adjustments, so it’s definitely best to start with the basics and then add flavors as desired.
Frozen Berries Aren’t the Answer
Using frozen berries is great for many desserts and baked goods. However, if you want to use a fresh berry puree as a topping on your ice cream, pie or cake, it might not work so well.
A frozen berry placed decoratively on top of a cupcake is not going to look as pretty as a fresh berry. The freezing process drastically changes the texture of the fruit and, structurally speaking, thawed berries will never hold up.
A good rule of thumb is to not use frozen berries for baking as the texture of the berry won’t matter as much once it goes into the oven.
If you’re thinking about getting into fresh berries, opt for the freshest you can find. Frozen berries will always be prettier than the fresh versions, but there are several benefits to using them in your baking. They tend to be less expensive, and there’s no chance of spoilage.
Frozen berries are more consistent than fresh berries. They also tend to be the most economical, which is great for any of us that loves to eat fresh berries but doesn’t want to pay $15 for a single pint.
More Pro Baking Tips
The quickest way to test baking soda and baking powder for freshness is with a microwave. Simply heat one teaspoon of baking soda in a cup of hot water for 30 seconds. If the water turns white, the baking soda is fresh. If it stays clear or pink, it has gone bad.
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