Cousin to the more familiar blackberries, dewberries grow on a lower-growing, trailing bush with slender canes that root wherever they touch the soil. Reddish-black dewberries mature earlier and are usually ready to eat about two weeks ahead of blackberries. However, like blackberries, dewberries are delicious straight from the or incorporated in desserts, jams, jellies and preserves. Freezing is a simple and dependable way to preserve these sweet, juicy berries.
Keep the dewberries in the refrigerator until you're ready to prepare them; then wash only a few berries at a time to prevent crushing.
Place the berries in a colander and rinse them with cool water. Don't submerge the berries.
Discard soft, blemished or overripe berries or green, under-ripe berries. The best berries for freezing are ripe but still firm.
Drain the berries thoroughly, and remove the stems and caps by pinching them off with your fingernails.
Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Spread the berries on the sheet in a single layer.
Sprinkle the dewberries lightly with granulated sugar if you prefer sweeter berries. Allow the berries to sit at room temperature until the sugar dissolves.
Place the baking sheet in the freezer until the berries freeze solid; then transfer them to plastic freezer containers. Label and date the container.
Use frozen dewberries within 18 months.
- Freezing dewberries on a cooking sheet ensures the berries don't stick together and keeps the berries whole, allowing you to use only as many frozen berries as you need. If this isn't important, skip this step. Just wash the berries and pack them directly into freezer container.
- You can also freeze pureed or crushed dewberries. Crush or blend the berries, and add sugar to taste. Stir gently until the sugar dissolves; pack the berries into freezer containers and freeze.
- Use the berries within 18 months after you froze them. Don't wait because the berries may acquire freezer burn after that time period.
M.H. Dyer began her writing career as a staff writer at a community newspaper and is now a full-time commercial writer. She writes about a variety of topics, with a focus on sustainable, pesticide- and herbicide-free gardening. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction writing.