Fresh fruit can be expensive to buy at the supermarket. The cost goes up even more when the fruit isn’t in season. One way to cut costs and enjoy your favorite fruit year round is to buy it when it’s in season and store it in the freezer for when you need it.
Before you begin freezing fruit, it is important to rinse it off first. This will remove any pesticides or dirt from the skin, allowing you to use the fruit immediately after pulling it out of the freezer. After you have washed the fruit, be sure to dry it off. If there is any extra moisture on the fruit, you run the risk of it freezing together with the other fruit, making it harder to pull out small amounts. Be sure to visit my post on DIY Homemade Baby Food as well if you have a little one.
Prepare the Fruit
Some fruits need to be prepared before going in to the freezer. The rule of thumb is to prepare it like you would if you were cooking it. If you were making apple pie, would you throw a whole apple in, core and everything? If the answer to that is no, then you need to apply that rule to your frozen fruit.
Berries in general should not need to be prepared, other than to remove the stem and the leafy greens. Fruits such as apples and pears should be cored and peeled. You can also cut them into halves or quarters for easier storage. Fruits, such as apricots, cherries, peaches, should all be pitted and peeled before freezing. You can also slice them into sections for storage.
Some fruits do not store as well. If you’ve ever cut up an apple and saved it for later, you know that it darkens and turns brown after awhile. You can prevent this by washing it with lemon juice or cider vinegar. The acid in these ingredients will serve to preserve the fruit. You can also purchase ascorbic acid in the canning supplies at the grocery store. This will also serve to preserve your fruit. Only treat fruit that will brown, such as apples and pears; berries will not need to be treated.
Freeze the Fruit
To freeze your product, lay the washed and dried fruit in a single layer on a baking pan or cookie sheet. Try to keep the fruit from contact with other fruit so that it dries separate. Put in the freezer until the fruit is frozen through. After it is frozen, you can transfer it to an airtight container such as freezer bags. Remove any excess air from the bag and seal it. Label the date on the bag so that you know the expiration date of the fruit. Frozen fruit should last in your freezer for a year. When you’re ready to use it, simply pull your fruit out of your freezer and enjoy.