Fresh and frozen berries are popular foods. When berries are picked for fresh consumption, they are usually packed directly without washing because they are highly perishable. Fresh berries also are commonly included in fresh-cut fruit mixtures sold as a ready-to-eat product. Berries may be washed before freezing, but they are not usually blanched or heat-treated unless they will be used in preserves or other processed products. There is typically no “kill step” that would eliminate pathogens on fresh or frozen berries.
You can freeze most fruits, but the quality of the frozen product depends on the kind of fruit, stage of maturity, and type of pack.
While there is limited commercial raspberry production in North Carolina, interest in raspberries continues to grow as more consumers demand a local supply of fresh, high quality fruit. Many ready-buyers for red raspberries have moved to North Carolina from other regions, such as the Northeast and Midwest, where this fruit is highly treasured.
Imports of fresh berries into the European market from developing countries have doubled over the past five years. Berries are increasingly offered as a convenient and healthy snack, seducing shoppers into buying them. Although many berries are grown in Europe itself, demand is much higher than European production and imports from developing countries are filling in the gap.
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