Wednesday, 28 June 2017

How to Freeze Fresh Summer Fruit

It's that most wonderful time of the year, the start of summer fruit picking season.  Strawberries, raspberries, currants, cherries, gooseberries, damsons, plums, whatever you pick there really is only so much you can eat in one day.  So what can you do with all that delicious fresh produce to keep it going well into the depths of winter?


So what do you do with that glut of wonderful fruit? You can make jam, you can adopt that wonderful American practice of canning or sterilise Mason jars and preserve whole fruits in juice, syrup or alcohol, or you can take the easy option and freeze it.

How to Freeze Fruit

The easiest and quickest way to preserve your fruit is freezing.  Whilst you can just chuck it all in a freezer bag and bung it in the frozen depths, you will likely end up with one frozen mass of fruit which will not defrost well or be particularly useable in the months to come.

Far better to take a little time to freeze them spaced out on open baking trays, then transfer to bags when each little berry or piece of fruit is frozen.  Make sure fruit is just ripe for the best results when freezing.  For larger fruits, remove the stones or cores and cut into usable pieces, as you would for cooking.  E.g. peel and core apples and pears, halve or quarter plums and apricots, and treat as you would berries.  Remove the stones from cherries and halve or leave whole.  If you are washing the fruit, lay it spaced out on a clean tea towel to dry thoroughly before freezing.

Freeze everything on open baking trays for 4-12 hours, then transfer to freezer bags and label.  Before sealing, remove as much of the air as possible to help protect the fruit from freezer burn and from becoming too pulpy if defrosting later.  Use a straw to suck as much of the remaining air out as possible.  If you can vacuum seal, all the better.


Frozen fruit will keep well for up to 3 months, possibly even longer before developing ice crystals and being considered past its best.  (I shouldn't tell you that we keep ours for up to a year, possibly longer and it's still fine.)

How to Use Frozen Fruit

However well you freeze them, frozen fruit is likely to become rather mushy when defrosted, but it will still taste great.  You can use frozen fruit in smoothies or cocktails, in puddings, as compote over granola or yoghurt, in sauces, or baked in pies, cobblers and crumbles.  You can even use them in place of fresh fruit in muffins and cakes.  Just use straight from the freezer in baking or smoothies, or thaw in a little boiled water or heated apple juice over a low heat to make a compote.  You can also make them into jam later on, great for if you don't have time now, or if your summer batch runs out.

If you want to try thawing, spread the fruit out as much as possible on a tray or other suitable container and defrost at room temperature for 1-3 hours or in a fridge for 4-6 hours.



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4 comments :

  1. thanks for this.Im growing strawberries and didn't know i could freeze them x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad it's useful. Let me know how you get on with the strawberries.

      Delete
  2. I love this! My raspberry bushes aren't ready for harvest yet, but I cannot wait. In addition to freezing, I am also going to attempt making jam for the first time this year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ooh, hope you get lots of raspberries. Good luck with the jam!

      Delete

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