The raspberry is a triangular fruit which presents a distinctly pink-red color once ripe. An extremely popular snack or enjoyed as a topping in many desserts, raspberries are available throughout much of the world in one shape or form.
Being a fruit high in water content, the relatively shelf-life of most freshly picked raspberries is quite short, and as such they often require certain measures be taken in order to preserve their quality and prevent spoilage.
Raspberries may be frozen if the need to preserve them for a long period is a higher priority than its general quality, as freezing fresh raspberries can affect their delicate texture and taste. Certain steps must be taken in order to ensure raspberries are at their best once removed from the freezer.
What Happens if You Freeze Raspberries?
Depending on the particular form that your raspberries come in, choosing to freeze them may not be the best decision for short-term storage. Dried raspberries and raspberry preserves, for example, contain very little water or otherwise are not affected by the damage of the freezing process, and as such make excellent candidates for storage in the freezer.
However, raspberries that have been freshly picked or are otherwise still high in moisture content will suffer in terms of textural cohesion and appearance, though it is likely their taste will remain much the same so long as they are consumed within a reasonable length of time.
In order to avoid this eventuality or at the least reduce its effect on the raspberries, certain steps may be taken in order to insulate it from the damaging environment of the freezer. If the storage procedure is performed adequately, it is entirely possible for fresh raspberries to retain nearly their top quality within a reasonable frame of time.
Do Frozen Raspberries Retain Their Quality?
As previously mentioned in the last section of this article, raspberries in their fresh and basic form will not retain their perfect quality while frozen, especially if kept in this sort of state for an extended period of time.
This is due in part to the fact that water present within the raspberries plant cells will expand and crystallize, rupturing it from within. While this action is at a microscopic level, it will present to us in the form of a slimy or otherwise infirm texture and an altered appearance of the berry.
What is the Ideal Storage Temperature and Humidity for Raspberries?
According to an informational bulletin posted by the U.S. based University of Maine, the ideal temperature for raspberry storage is between the temperatures of 31° to 32°F. At this temperature, water present within the fruit will expand and crystallize, inhibiting the fruits own internal enzymatic action and the progression of bacterial and fungal growth.
On the humidity side of things, raspberries keep at their best quality at a relative air humidity percentage of ninety to ninety-five, or approximately the average temperature of most commercially available refrigerator crisper drawers.
Stored in this way, raspberries will last for up to three days with no impact on their quality.
How Long Do Raspberries Last in the Refrigerator?
Storing raspberries in the refrigerator is a far more preferable alternative to freezing them if the quality of the berries must be at its absolute best. The drawback to this method of preservation is the fact that raspberries do not have as long a shelf-life as opposed to that of a freezer.
In order to store the raspberries in the refrigerator, all that is required is a resealable air-tight plastic container or resealable plastic pouch.
Do not wash the raspberries prior to storing as excess moisture will act as a catalyst towards the formation of bacterial and fungal colonies as well as accelerate the activation of ripening enzymes present in the cellular makeup of the raspberries.
Pile the berries into the container or pouch, taking care not to rupture or damage any of them, as this too will cause them to spoil prematurely. Keep this container above your crisper, wherein it will not be humid enough to form condensation but will also be relatively warm enough.
Stored in the best possible conditions and immediately after harvesting, the raspberries should last for up to five days in your refrigerator before showing signs of spoilage.
How Long Do Raspberries Last in the Freezer?
Unlike the relatively short few days that raspberries may remain safe to eat in the refrigerator, freezing raspberries can allow them to last for up to eighteen months before their edibility should be called into question.
This length of time is all the more applicable in the event that the raspberries being stored are of the dried variety or similar types of processed raspberry.
Of course, just like storing any other kind of foodstuff within the freezer, the correct equipment, procedures and freezer environment must be followed in order to allow the raspberries to reach their maximum potential shelf-life length.
How to Freeze Raspberries
In order to freeze your raspberries, the equipment required are a colander, a wax-paper lined baking sheet, a cloth towel, and a set of resealable plastic pouches or freezer bags.
Starting the process of freezing raspberries begins at the garden or market, wherein it is vitally important to purchase raspberries that are suitable for freezing. Warning signs to look out for are off-color patches, discolored berries and berries presenting visible damage such as bruising or welts.
After purchasing or harvesting raspberries suitable for storage in the freezer, place them within a vegetable wash basket or colander. Run a gentle stream of cold tap water over the raspberries, brushing them lightly with your fingertips in order to dislodge any insects or dirt that may be clinging to the berries.
Now washed, dry the raspberries by spreading them out across a kitchen towel. Care must be taken so as to not rupture or otherwise damage the raspberries, as this will accelerate their degradation and spoilage.
Once completely dry, lay the raspberries along the wax-paper lined baking tray, ensuring that no two raspberries are pressed tightly together, as this will cause them to freeze together, making it difficult to thaw them.
Place the baking tray in the freezer uncovered for up to two hours or until the raspberries internal temperature has reached that of 32°F.
Once this point has been reached or this length of time has passed, remove the tray of raspberries from the freezer.
Pile the raspberries into separate freezer bags of resealable plastic pouches with the volume in accordance to your desired serving size. This step is done in order to remove the need to defrost the entire batch of raspberries should you choose to remove them from the freezer.
Place the bags of raspberries in the deepest section of your freezer, as far as possible from anything that may induce freezer burn to the fruit, such as freezer vents, fans, or panels adjacent to the compressor tubes.
Are Freezer Burnt Raspberries Safe to Eat?
Yes. In the event that your raspberries have been stored improperly in the freezer or an unfortunate occurrence has happened, freezer burnt raspberries are still perfectly safe to eat, though their particular texture may be unpleasant.
If you do not desire to dispose of the freezer burnt raspberries but also won’t consume them, they are perfectly acceptable for uses like creating raspberry preserves or jelly, as these processes help ignore the particular textural degradation that has occurred.
1. Unknown Author. (2016) “Raspberry”. Online Etymology Dictionary.
2. Unknown Author. “Production of raspberries in 2019; Pick list by Crops/Regions/Production Quantity”. United Nations, Food and Agriculture Organization Corporate Statistical Database (FAOSTAT). 2020.