Sunday, July 18, 2004

Helpings



Compiled by Chuck Martin

What's the best way to freeze blueberries?

The Ball Blue Book (Alltrista Corp.; $4.95) suggests several methods, but begin by selecting firm, mature berries with no defects. Remove stems and wash thoroughly but quickly in ice water, then drain. To freeze blueberries using the "dry pack" method, pack drained blueberries into plastic freezer bags. Seal, label and freeze. For the "sugar pack" method, mix 1 quart fresh berries and 2/3 cup sugar. Pack into can or freeze jars or plastic freezer boxes. Seal, label and freeze. For the "syrup pack" method, make a medium syrup by dissolving 31/4 cups sugar in 5 cups water to yield 7 cups syrup. Cool syrup completely. Pack drained berries into freeze jars or plastic freezer boxes and shake container to settle berries. Cover berries with cooled syrup, leaving 1/2-inch head space. Seal, label and freeze.

Freezing tips: The Ball Blue Book recommends freezing fruit and other food at 0 degrees F or colder for the best quality. Although most food can be frozen indefinitely, its quality deteriorates over time. For instance, the Ball Blue Book recommends using frozen blueberries and other fruit (except citrus) within a year. Citrus fruit should be used within 4 months of freezing. For more freezing and canning tips, buy the Ball Blue Book at book stores or hardware stores. Or, call (800) 392-2575 or go to www.homecanning.com.

Tube food: The history of Cincinnati's Skyline Chili is featured on Unwrapped at 9 p.m. Monday on the Food Network.

Hot date: White Oak Garden Center hosts Marilyn Harris as she presents "Cooking with Herbs" beginning at 2 p.m. today at White Oak Garden Center (3579 Blue Rock Road). The demonstration is free and open to the public. Information: 385-3313.




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