Freezing Summer Berries & Fruits
The onslaught of summer fruit has begun. And whether you pick your fruit fresh from your garden, at a pick-your-own farm, a farmer’s market, or from the grocery store, you may want to preserve some of it – especially if you find a great deal.
There are few things so wonderful as sweet summer fruit in the middle of winter! Certainly you can home can all fruit, but for those who don’t can – or who have full pantries – or just want a quicker preservation method – freezing is an excellent choice.
How to Freeze Berries
Of all fruits, berries are the easiest to freeze. Just wash them in running water, then allow to completely dry. Next, lay the berries in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and pop into the freezer. When the berries are hard, transfer them to a freezer bag.
How to Freeze Other Fruits
The first step is preparation.
Apples and pears should be peeled, cored, then sliced or quartered. Toss them with some lemon juice to prevent the fruit from browning.
Cherries should be pitted. (The pits are much harder to remove after freezing.)
Peaches and plums should be peeled and pitted, then cut into slices.
Apricots and nectarines should be halved and pitted. (Be sure to peel nectarines, too.) If they are large, you can slice or quarter them.
Melons can be scooped into balls or cut into cubes or sliced.
Once the fruit is prepared, treat it just like berries, laying it in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Once the fruit is frozen hard, transfer to freezer bags.
Freezing Fruit in Syrup
If you want your frozen fruit ready for turning into an ice cream topping, a cobbler or crisp, a pie, or some other dessert, you can freeze it in a syrup.
Most fruits do best with a syrup made of 1 ¾ cups of granulated sugar per 4 cups of water. Melons can be frozen with less sugar and tart fruits may need more sugar. Expect to use about ½ to 2/3 cup of syrup for each pint of fruit.
Make the syrup in a pot placed over medium to medium high heat. Stir constantly until the sugar is dissolved; allow to cool.
Pour ½ cup room temperature syrup into each freezer container, then add fruit, and cover with more syrup, leaving ½ inch headspace at the top of all pint containers and 1 inch at the top of quarts.
If the container has a narrow top, leave 1 ½ inches headspace.
You may freeze your favorite fruit pie recipe simply by cooking it as if you were going to make a pie – but instead of pouring it into a crust, allow it to cool, and then pour into freezer containers.
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