Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Freezing Raspberries and Seasonal Produce

I was told recently by a friend that the third round of berries were in season right now at the Green Bazaar. We just bought a freezer chest off a couple leaving Dushanbe so first the first time in ten years of living in the Former Soviet Union I have more than 2 ft. sq. of freezer space! Trust me when I tell you that this is exciting news!

When only old root veggies are available in February and not a single piece of local fruit is in sight, we are going to enjoy these. Seasonal eating is a movement in the U.S. right now, but it's a part of everyday life in Tajikistan. When produce is affordable (read: cheap) and abundant, it's time to can, jar, pickle and freeze.

We bought four plastic bins.

They were huge and juicy.

Very little were mushed beyond freezability. I washed them gently in small batches of bottled water. Then I lined them up obediently in rows on a roasting tray and placed them in said freezer for about an hour.

This way you don't end up with a giant clump of mushy raspberries when you defrost a batch in the depths of a Tajik winter. You can actually take a handful out at a time, as cravings dictate.

Then I froze them in quart-size freezer bags.

Lemon raspberry muffins? Raspberry cake? Or how about something savory like Pastry Wrapped Brie with Raspberries? February almost can't come fast enough. Actually, considering we'll have about six hours of electricity per day and no heat or gas, I changed my mind. I can wait.

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