Summer is officially over, and that means it’s only a matter of time before your favorite summer fruits are gone. Now, if you have, say, a lot of seasonal fruit in your pantry, how do you prolong its freshness? Can you freeze fruit?
You’d be surprised how easily fruit keeps well in the freezer. Of course there are different types of fruit, some freeze better than others. The general rule is that denser, harder fruit keeps better in the freezer than softer fruit. As a rule, fresh and ripe fruit have a shelf life of one or two weeks. However, when kept in the freezer, fruit will keep for months, even a full year if the temperature is kept at a stable 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
Before we proceed with the freezing guide, let’s talk about the important factors you need to consider before freezing fruit. When buying fruit to freeze, always choose fresh fruit that is at its peak of freshness. Freezing prevents half-ripened fruit from fully ripening, affecting the overall taste and texture of the products. In addition, fresh fruit must be frozen quickly to maintain freshness. Keep the temperature constant or your frozen fruit will turn to mush.
It’s also worth noting that exposure to moisture ruins the flavor and texture of the frozen fruit. Therefore, packaging the fruit before freezing is a critical step. Freezing fruit isn’t just about sticking a bag of it in the freezer. Below is a guide on how to freeze fruit:
How to freeze fruit
Preparing the fruit before freezing is a crucial step in preserving the fruit’s natural flavors and texture. There are several techniques to consider when preparing fresh fruit for freezing:
In blast freezing, the fruit is “shocked” or exposed to extremely low temperatures to preserve freshness. Tender fruits — like berries, pears, melons, and grapes — tend to go mushy if they’re not flash frozen before freezing. By shock freezing the fruit, tender fruit retains its crisp texture and distinct flavor.
To flash freeze fruit, wash and cut the fruit. If necessary, remove the seeds, peel or cut the fruit. Place the fruit on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Make sure the pieces of fruit are not touching each other to avoid clumping. Place the baking sheet in the freezer and let rest for 1 hour or until the fruit is frozen solid.
While you wait for the fruit to freeze, prepare several resealable plastic bags. After an hour, remove the baking sheet from the freezer and carefully place the fruit in the plastic bag. Before sealing, squeeze the bag to remove the air. Write the storage date with a marker and then stick it in the freezer.
Read Also: Can you freeze eggplants?
Preserve in sugar syrup
Some fruits are prone to oxidation or discoloration after cutting. These fruits include pears, apples, bananas, and peaches. An enzyme — called polyphenol oxidase, or tyrosinase — triggers a bioreaction that causes fruit to turn dark. With these fruits, it is best to preserve them in sugar or syrup before freezing. Blast freezing the fruit does not prevent the fruit from oxidizing after thawing. When preserved in syrup, the fruit retains its natural color, flavor and texture.
To preserve fruit before freezing in syrup, wash the fruit in cold water. Do the cleaning in small batches because the fruit must not discolour before the process is complete! Do not cut the fruit into slices or pieces, do this later. Once the fruit is clean, set aside.
Next you need to prepare the syrup. Dissolve sugar globs in lukewarm water and mix continuously until solution runs clear. As for the thickness of the syrup, it depends on your preference. To make a thin syrup, mix one part sugar with three parts water. For a medium-thick syrup, mix one part sugar with two parts water. Mix equal parts water and sugar for a sticky syrup.
Pour the sugar and water solution into a deep pan and simmer over medium-high heat until the solution thickens. Once the solution has thickened, it is ready to use.
Go back to your washed fruit and cut, core, core, peel, or slice the fruit as you like. Place the fruit in a freezer-safe, airtight container. Do not fill the container completely; You need to make room for the syrup. Once done, pour the syrup into the container, making sure to cover all of the fruit. Leave about an inch or two for the syrup to expand as it freezes. Seal the container with the airtight lid, write the storage date, and then stick it in the freezer.
A variation on this technique is to add the fresh fruit directly to the pot of simmering syrup. You don’t cook the fruit through, just add it once the syrup has thickened. Then pour everything into an airtight container, seal it, write down the storage date and stick it in the freezer.
This is a simple technique that works best on peach, strawberry, plum, cherry and pitted grape slices. Begin by washing, trimming, peeling, or pitting the fruit. Then place the pieces of fruit in a shallow pan. Sprinkle sugar on the fruit, covering each piece. Mix the fruit gently until the fruit juice is extracted and the sugar is completely dissolved. When you’re done, you’re ready to pack.
Preparing the fruit for freezing
This is a general guide to freezing most types of fresh fruit.
Start by sorting the fresh fruit and picking those that are at the peak of their freshness. Wash the fruit in cold water, removing pieces and dirt. When the fruits are clean, dry them well with a paper towel. At this point, you can slice, dice, core, core, pit, or peel the fruit as you wish. While you’re at it, trim away bruises, wounds, or unwanted areas.
Once the fruit is ready, you can flash freeze the fruit, preserve it in syrup, or prepare the product using the sugar pack technique. When working with fruit that oxidizes, do not cut or slice the fruit immediately. If using plain syrup, make the syrup before slicing the fruit. Otherwise, the fruit will discolor before you have a chance to complete the process.
When you are done with the blast freezing, syrup canning, or sugar packing technique, you can pack the fruit for freezing.
Packing the fruit for freezing
To pack the fruit, you can use a rigid plastic container with an airtight lid, a freezer jar, or resealable plastic bags. Simply place the fruit in your preferred container and seal. Write down the storage date and then stick them in the freezer.
If you used syrup to preserve the fruit, cover the container with cling film before closing the lid. This way the syrup will not leak. We do not recommend using mason jars or glass jars as the material would explode at freezing temperatures.
Guidelines for Freezing Specific Fruits
love nectarines? You can easily freeze nectarines.
Limes are plentiful in summer.
The kiwi is a delicate fruit that bruises easily, so it should be frozen carefully.
Figs are such a versatile fruit, you can never have enough of them.
There are many ways to store blueberries before freezing.
How do you thaw frozen fruit?
Defrosting frozen fruit is easy, just move the container from the freezer to the fridge. Slowly thaw the frozen fruit overnight. You want to thaw the fruit slowly to preserve the texture and flavor of the products. When the fruit is completely thawed, it can be eaten or prepared according to the recipe.
As you can see, there are so many techniques to consider when freezing different types of fruit. We hope this guide has been helpful to you. Now that you know how to freeze fruit, you can extend the freshness of your favorite seasonal fruits for months!