In the summertime, we have an abundance of wonderful fresh fruit. What better way to preserve it, once you've made all the jams and tarts and ice cream you can imagine, than to freeze it? Here are a few easy steps to freeze your summer bounty to use all year long.
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How to Freeze Fruit
Freezing fruit is a super easy way to save the great flavors of ripe in-season fruit to enjoy later in the year. It's the perfect solution for those times when you over-do it at the market and come home with way more cherries or peaches or strawberries than you're going to be able to eat in a timely, before-the-fruit-rots manner. It works similarly well to the glut that tends to occur post-u-pick visits and as a response to overly generous gifts from friends with prolific gardens.
Whether you're freezing berries or freezing cherries, freezing peaches or freezing plums, the principle is the same and it's a breeze; just follow these three simple steps.Continue to 2 of 4 below.
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Prepare the Fruit
All fruit needs to be rinsed clean and patted dry before freezing. Some fruits will fair best with a bit more preparation, such as peeling. Specifics for a few common fruits:
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- Apples and pears need to be cored, peeled, and quartered or sliced and then tossed with a bit of lemon juice or cider vinegar to keep them from browning
- Apricots should be halved and pitted, large ones can be quartered, if you like
- Blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries can be left whole
- Cherries will be easier to use later if you pit them now
- Melon can be cut into cubes or slices or scooped into bite-size balls
- Peaches, plums, and nectarines should be pitted and peeled and may be sliced or cut into wedges, if you like
- Strawberries need to be hulled and can be cut in halves or quarters
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Freeze the Fruit
Lay the prepared fruit in a single layer on a large baking sheet or pan (make sure it fits flat in your freezer first!). You can line the pan with parchment paper, waxed paper, or aluminum foil if you like. Make sure the fruit isn't crowded and the pieces are touching as little as possible.
Put the fruit-laden sheet, flat, in the freezer until the fruit is frozen solid. This usually takes an hour or two. If you're freezing it for just a few hours, you can leave it uncovered. If, however, you might forget about them for longer than that, cover the sheet to keep the fruit from drying out too much.Continue to 4 of 4 below.
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Transfer Fruit for Frozen Storage
Once the fruit is frozen through, transfer it to heavy-duty freezer bags. Press out as much of the air as possible (you can get maniacal about it with a vacuum sealer if you have one, or suck the air out with a straw), seal the bag, and store it in the back or coldest part of the freezer.
Frozen fruit will last up to a year in a stand-alone freezer that isn't opened and closed a lot, and up to 6 months in a frequently opened refrigerator-freezer.