How To Freeze Fruit
To freeze fruit is the simplest way to preserve nature’s bounty all year round.
Frozen fruits packaged well can be stored for up to 1 year. Citrus fruits and juices, however, are only recommend for 6 months.
How to Freeze Fruit: Step by Step
Select High Quality Fruit In Season
Please don’t plan to spend money buying fruits at the grocery store to freeze without talking to the manager first. Are they local? When do fresh shipments come in?
If your fruit was picked, shipped, shelved and sat there for a few days it’s lost many of it’s vitamins already and your money might be better spent in the frozen section than the produce section.
Fresh picked and frozen the same day is the best way to keep the nutrients and that is what large producers do.
If you can’t get truly fresh fruit I recommend buying frozen fruit. Why work hard to freeze fruit that is nutritionally sub-par?
Use a Sharp Knife
Remove the stems and any pieces that are over or under ripe along with pits or seeds. At this point you are ready to slice, dice, puree or juice your fruit. Fruit can also be frozen whole, crushed, jellied, or as pie filling.
Do not use copper or iron equipment, those metals react with the acid in the fruits. Earthenware, glass and stainless steel are safe to use.
Use Ascorbic-Citric Acid
Ascorbic-citric acid forms a natural barrier to air oxidation, the cause of browning and vitamin loss, by oxidizing themselves so that the fruit does not become oxidized.
The most popular and easy to find type of ascorbic-citric acid is Fruit Fresh, available in most grocery stores usually in the canning section.
Note that fruit purees with or without sugar, need even more protection from oxidation because air gets worked into the puree where as a whole or sliced pieces of fruit on need their surfaces protected, so add a little extra Fruit Fresh.
Freeze Fruit in Sugar, Syrup or Juice or Dry on a Cookie Sheet
There are many “packs” to choose from when freezing fruit. Sweetened or unsweetened, wet or dry.
Use crumbled up parchment or cellophane under the lid on top of the fruit in rigid containers to push it down into the syrup, if necessary. Allow room for the syrup to expand, usually 1/2 inch in rigid containers, more if the container is narrow.
On a side note: If you have a vacuum sealer do not use it with wet packs as it can vacuum up the syrup or juice too.
Unsweetened Dry Pack
Use one tablespoon of ascorbic-citric acid per 4 cups of sliced fruit. This method is good for fruits to be used as garnishes or added to something like a fruit smoothie.
Unsweetened Wet Pack
Plan to use 1/2 to 2/3 cup syrup per pint (2 cups) of fruit. It’s better to make too much than to run out. It’s also best to make the syrup the day before so it is cooled in the fridge in time to freeze the fruit.
Use 1 teaspoon of ascorbic-citric acid per cup of water to syrup mixture.
Up to one quarter of the sugar amount can be substituted with honey or corn syrup. I don’t eat or recommend eating artificial sweeteners. However, if you want to use them, the box should have directions on substituting for sugar.
Do not use molasses or brown sugar to freeze fruit because of the dark color. It makes your fruit look odd and unappetizing.
Don’t Cheapen Out on Storage Containers
Don't try to save a few pennies and risk losing the fruit you froze and all the time it took.
Pack in Useable Sizes
In my experience it’s better to freeze in smaller quantities and thaw two containers than to thaw one large container and waste a portion of it. That said, you know best what you’ll be using this fruit for and should decide what size portions to freeze in based on how you’ll use it.
Label With Type of Fruit, How it Was Prepared and the Date
Freeze Fruit Quickly for Highest Quality
Also, make sure there is space for the cold air to move around the container in the freezer. Do not stack warm containers on top of one another and when possible do not stack warm fruit on top of other already frozen items so they don't risk defrosting.
If using plastic freezer bag lay them flat on a cookie sheet so they don't freeze in odd shapes and take extra space in the freezer.
Thawing Frozen Fruit
For pies, only thaw until the pieces can be separated. For sauces you can add frozen fruit straight to the saucepan.
Frozen fruits do soften when thawed. Thus fruits to be eaten without being cooked should be served while they still have some ice crystals.
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