Freezing fresh summertime fruit is a great way to make your fresh produce last into the winter. Enjoy the summertime tastes in January and all year long. So easy to do and you will enjoy the fruit of your labor in those cold winter months.
Okay, Everyone. I am so sorry things have been a little crazy over here at Baking With Mom. I know my posts are usually more consistent but summer has hit us full swing over here and while June was rather easy going, July hit the ground running and I find myself not knowing if I am coming or going.
Even though life is a bit on the the crazy side, I know I need to plan ahead and start thinking about freezing fresh summertime fruit for those long and cold winter months.
It is not always convenient when those fresh garden vegetables or fruits pop up but it is so worth it to harvest them when they do and set some aside for later.
It is also great to buy fruit bulk from a farmer and freeze it in quart sized bags. Over the years, we have froze peaches, blueberries, cherries, strawberries and raspberries.
Can you freeze fresh fruit?
Yes you can! It is important to know which fruit can be frozen successfully and which can't. You should also note, most fruit will lose a little of it's original texture but rest assured it still tastes good especially in recipes like in these mini blueberry pies.
What fruit freezes well?
The best fruit that freezes well are:
Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, apples (for baking and sauce), peaches and cherries. Bananas also freeze well.
Bananas frozen are best for smoothies, though if they have only been frozen for a short time (a couple of days) they are good to eat. Be sure to cut them up before freezing them.
What fruit doesn't freeze well?
Watermelon and citrus are a couple of fruits that do not freeze well. Citrus tends to get mushy in the freezer.
So you know you want to buy fresh fruit, but where do you start? Glad you asked:
Ask around and see if you have a farmer nearby that sells large quantity of fruit. Can you go pick it yourself or do they pick it for you? Some of the farmers I buy from actually go up to another state and bring truckloads back. Do you have someone in your area that will do that for you?
While on vacation, where are you going? Does the area have any orchards you can get produce from on your way home?
We recently went to Michigan and was amazed by all the orchards there! Field after field of cherries trees were calling my name. After stopping at Tree-Mendus Fruit orchard, I was able to score 10 lbs of pitted tart cherries for myself and 10 lbs for my sister.
How to freeze cherries
These cherries came pre-pitted but not pre-sugared. Perfect! Simply take the cherries (they were washed) and place them in quart sized bags.
I like to make the cherry bags flat so they stack easier in the freezer and take up less space. When you are ready to use them, just take a bag out and use the cherries fresh or frozen.
Be sure to measure out how many cherries are in each bag. For example, measure out 2 cups per bag so making a recipe is easier. Label each bag if the sizes are different.
If you want to use them thawed, place in fridge at least overnight, maybe more.
How To Freeze Blueberries
If you get blueberries, chances are they are not washed. What I like to do, is not wash them before I put them in the freezer. I get them and put them in bags then lay them flat like the cherries.
Then when I use them, I wash them. If you wash them first, you have to wait until they are completely dry before you freeze them. If you wash afterwards, you can thaw them slightly by running them under water.
How To Freeze Strawberries
If you have a strawberry patch, don't let the strawberries go to waste. Freeze for later on. Oh, strawberry soup in the winter. Yum!
With strawberries, you can wash, cut the stems off and put into bags. Then freeze. Easy Peasy! You can add sugar to your strawberries before you freeze them, if you would like. Either way.
How To Freeze Peaches
These take a little more work. And a whole lot more patience. But, in the end, the peach dumplings are worth it. Oh, trust me.
Take your fresh peaches and place them in boiling water for 1 minute. Remove carefully from water using tongs then place in ice cold water for 1 minute. Take the peaches out of the water and let sit on baking sheet or countertop (if your counter is heat resistant).
Remove skins from peaches carefully (should slide right off). Cut up peaches and place in large bowl. Add ¼ cup of Fruit Fresh and ⅔ cup of sugar per 10-15 peaches. Stir.
Add peaches to quart freezer bags and lay flat for better freezer storage. You can also add cinnamon to the bags if you would like.
A few tips
Only name brand. Yes, really. No off brands for a long term freezer stay.
Yes! Some you can eat straight from the freezer bag, some taste better in desserts. It will really be up to your personal taste.