Monday, August 12, 2013

Cleaning you Blueberries and something to make it easier

Remember yesterday's blueberry post...well, I'm not done with it yet, teehee.
Now that you have picked all those juicy, tasty, sweet berries, what are you going to do with them.
I know make pies, jellies, jams, muffins...and my favourite blueberry cheesecake ;)
But you still have a bit of work to do until we get to that stage.

Plus like I mentioned yesterday, I am a berry hoarder, so I need to freeze some of mine.

The first thing I do when we get back from berry picking is to clean my berries.
Step one of cleaning them is to just go through your bucket...or buckets and remove the leaves, stems, twigs and bugs...yes bugs love these berries as well.
I also like to wash my berries.
I just fill the sink with cold water and dump them in.
Any leaves will float to the top and you can remove them from the water.
I swish them a bit also to get the sand out. The sand sinks to the bottom.

Now comes the drying part.
If you are going to freeze your berries they need to be dry. That way if you only want to take out a cup or a few tbsps for your oatmeal in the morning, it is easy as they won't be frozen together.
This part was always time consuming for me.
I would lay out paper towels on baking sheets and then pour some berries on the paper towel, then put it up to a window for the breeze to dry it.
This worked, but it was a waste of paper towel, even though I would save it when it dried for the next weekend.
So I devised a clever way to help me with this part of the process.

I am sure this is nothing new, but it is new to me :)
I figured the berries would dry so much faster if they had air flow to both the top and bottom of the tray.
So Wayne and I went shopping.
First stop was the dollar store.
I needed a frame that was a bit thick so the berries wouldn't roll off of the edge.
So I grabbed 2 canvas's for $3.00 each.
Some screen and we had the heavy duty stapler.
I only needed the outer frame for this project, so I cut off the canvas. 
Bonus is, I get to use the canvas on another project :)

I then stapled the screen to the back of the canvas frame.
Easy, peasy :)

Two blueberry screens done in no time flat :)

Now lets see how these suckers work.
I placed it on the left hand side of the sink, while the berries were being washed in the right hand side.

I take them out with a strainer and then place them on the screen.
So far it has held up to the weight of the berries...thats a good sign ;)

I wanted to clean, wash and dry the whole 18 cups of berries, so I took the trays outside.
I stayed out there the whole time. I didn't want our mutant squirrels to eat my hard earned berries.
As you can see it was a success :)
I am so psyched about my new screens and can't wait to put them to work again, real soon :)

This past weekend Wayne and I picked over 32 cups of blueberries.
I freeze my berries in these Ziploc plastic bags.
I put 4 cups in each bag as most recipes call for 3-4 cups of blueberries.
I also keep an odd bag for just berries I like to put on my oatmeal.

Now off to make a pie :)
I hope you all had a creative Monday, and I should be creating the evening away with my friend Debbie at our creative getaway we do each year.

Tracy :)


  1. You got quite the harvest! I'm not a blue berry fan but my daughter says she'll take a slice of pie ;)

  2. Awesome idea for the screens, A really great harvest too.

  3. Now is that a genius idea or what! Fabulous!

  4. Very clever idea to make your own screens. A great way to preserve your favorite berry for all year. My mother used to use an old screen door for drying apples. The only snag was the year she put the door to close to the cow pasture. The cows ate all her cut and peeled apples!

  5. Those are nice blueberries. I wish I can pick them too hehe... look like something fun to do. Clever way to dry them. =)

  6. So cool! I love how the berries look drying on the screen! It looks so pretty and yummy!

  7. What a really brilliant idea, great job Tracy.
    Happy crafting
    Tracy x

  8. I LOOOOOOOVE blueberries! They are my favorite fruit with watermelon a close second :)

  9. You are so clever! That is an awesome fix to your drying problem. And yum......I'll take a piece of that blueberry pie you are making, please! :)

  10. Even your blueberry cleaning/drying process is organized! Lol!

  11. smart planning! Picked raspberries again and made more freezer jam!


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