Summer time and its abundance, what could be better? The warmer climate means being able to enjoy summer fruits, including nectarines. A nectarine is a type of stone fruit that is similar to a peach. It is characterized by a plum-like skin and sweet white or yellow flesh.
Also known as “shaved peaches,” nectarines don’t have fine downs all over the rind like regular peaches do. But unlike peaches, nectarines have twice the vitamin A content and more vitamin C than regular peaches.
Can you freeze nectarines?
Can you freeze nectarines? With the summer season bringing an influx of summer fruits like nectarines, is it possible to freeze seasonal fruits to enjoy all year round? The short answer is yes, you can freeze nectarines.
Stone fruits have a very tender flesh. Once fully ripe, the fruit must be consumed quickly or it will start to rot. By freezing nectarines you can extend their shelf life and avoid wastage! In addition to enjoying fresh nectarines, you can also freeze the fruit for baking and cooking. You can use this stone fruit to prepare jams, marmalades, smoothies and other goodies.
Nectarines are fresh in the freezer for up to 3 to 4 months. Fully ripened nectarines will only keep fresh in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days. Unripe nectarines should not be chilled in the refrigerator. The cold temperatures prevent the fruit from fully ripening. Below is a step-by-step guide on how to freeze nectarines:
How do you freeze nectarines?
Freezing nectarines — and other summer fruits — couldn’t be easier. If you have whole, ripened nectarines, you can freeze them as is, unwashed and uncut. To do this, just get a large rigid plastic container and put the fruit in it. Close the lid, mark the container with the storage date and stick it in the freezer.
To freeze cut or sliced nectarines, you must first prepare the fruit: start by washing the fruit and removing the stone. Once the core is removed you can either remove the skins or keep them, it’s your choice.
Get a baking sheet and line it with parchment. Place the nectarine slices on top, making sure the individual slices are not touching. Do not layer or stack the fruit slices. Once the fruit slices are frozen, you can no longer separate the slices for storage!
Place the baking sheet in the freezer and wait 4 to 5 hours for the fruit slices to freeze solid. You can freeze the sliced fruit overnight, but you’ll need to repackage it within a day or two to protect the nectarines from freezer burn.
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Once the sliced nectarines are frozen, carefully place them in a rigid plastic container or resealable plastic bag. Label the package with the storage date, squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing, then tape it in the freezer.
If you want to preserve nectarines in syrup, see the prep steps above. Once the nectarines are washed and cut, set them aside and chill in the fridge. Dissolve 3 cups of sugar in 4 cups of lukewarm water to make a heavy syrup. Add about half a teaspoon of ascorbic acid to prevent oxidation when freezing. Chill the syrup in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Once the syrup is nice and chilled, place the sliced nectarines in a rigid plastic container with an airtight lid and pour in the heavy syrup. Seal the container and label it with the storage date. Put it in the freezer and you’re done.
How do you thaw frozen nectarines?
Usually there is no need to thaw frozen nectarines, you could incorporate the fruit directly into smoothies, preserves, marmalades, etc. However, if you want to thaw the fruit before eating, all you have to do is move the container from the freezer to the fridge. Let the fruit thaw for a few hours and it’s ready to use!
Nectarines are best served in smoothies and sweet treats. Now that you know how to freeze nectarines, you can save these essential summer fruits and enjoy them all year long!