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Monday, 7 July 2014

How to freeze fruit



Fruit is one thing in my house which is guaranteed to be eaten before it goes off. Sometimes though I buy to much and need to put my thinking cap on to avoid waste. I often get them from a grocers who reduce their fruit an hour before closing. I buy this fruit in big bowlfuls or a carrier bag full for 50p-£1! Cheap as chips but only so much I can make the kids eat. I tend to make muffins/cakes or jams with any that look like they are about to ripen to fast and never really thought of actually freezing the fruit for future use.

Relying on trusty google to give me the answers I come across many sites with detailed guides on how to prepare fruit to freeze. Most fruit is freezable but will be softer in texture than when fresh. As I am not looking to freeze fruit to just pick up and munch on, being softer isn't an issue for me. I want to freeze it for future baking or sauces.

Points to remember

When working with acidic fruits, do not use any knives, bowls, pans that are iron, copper, galvanized tin or chipped enamel as it could cause discolouration and a metallic off flavours. Acidic fruits could also dissolve zinc from galvanised tin which could be poisonous.

Light coloured fruits quickly turn brown when cut. Sugar or lemon/lime juice will prevent the fruit darkening.

Fruits can be stored in either a syrup pack or a sugar pack. Some are better dry stored (nothing extra added)

If fruit is for Jam or jellies - do not add sugar when freezing.

Syrup Pack 

When googling it will say 30% syrup, 40% syrup etc. To make the percentage i have added the amounts needed below:

Thin syrup  - 30% sugar
4 cups water
2 cups sugar
makes around 5 cups of syrup
calories - 308
Can be used for all fruits and will not take any flavour away from mild tasting fruits.

Medium syrup - 40%
4 cups water
3 cups sugar
makes around 5 ½ cups of syrup
Calories - 420
Recommended for whole fruits or those that darken quick

Heavy syrup - 50%
4 cups water
4 ¾ cups sugar
makes around 6 ½ cups of syrup
Calories - 563
Best used when freezing fruits which have a sour taste.

Sugar packs - Sprinkle sugar to suit your taste over light coloured fruit to preserve flavouring and prevent darkening.


FruitPreparation
ApplesPeel, core and slice up. Brush with a thin layer of diluted lemon juice. Line the slices up in a single layer on a tray and freeze till firm. Transfer into a freezer bag or container once firmed up. Ok in the freezer for 6-9 months.  
ApricotsPeel, pit and halve. Blanch for 30 seconds and cool immediately in ice cold water. Dip in diluted lemon juice to discourage discolouration. Place in freezer bags - remove any excess air and freeze for up to 3 months. 
Avocados One fruit that does not freeze well. Guacamole does freeze ok though. Cut in half and scoop out the flesh. Puree it with abit of lemon or lime juice to stop browning. Bag it up and freeze, use within 3 months. *It does not taste as good as freshly made, it has a softer consistency. When thawing thaw in cold water rather than leave out. 
BananaJust slice and bag them, removing as much air as possible from the bag. Personally i found that they went brown really quick and was only suitable for making a puree or smoothie with after. Google says they can be frozen whole with the skin left on but i have not tried this yet. Not suitable for long term freezing. 
BerriesWash and remove any stems. Do not wash blueberries though.  Arrange in a single layer onto a tray and freeze till firm. Transfer into containers or zip lock bags. Will be a softer texture when thawed. Better for smoothies, purees, baking. 
Cherries Prepare the same as Berries. If using for smoothies, remove the stone first. 
CoconutPuncture and drain out milk, remove meat and grate or use a food processor. Freeze coconut meat in a zip lock bag with excess air removed. You can pour the coconut milk over if wanted otherwise coconut milk freezes well in a separate container/bag. 
CranberriesFreeze the same as other berries. 
Currants - red/blackcurrant etc Wash and stem. Put them onto a tray in the freezer to firm up then finish freezing in a bag or container. Will be softer when thawed. 
GrapefruitPeel and section. Collect juice from peeling to cover fruit. Freeze in zip lock bags or containers. Grapefruit juice is freezable if you would prefer to just juice them and freeze that. Do not freeze whole - it will split and dry out. 
Grapes Wash and stem. Put them onto a tray in the freezer to firm up then finish freezing in a bag or container. Will be softer when thawed and have a poorer flavour. Best used in jams, pies etc after being thawed. 
MelonsCut in half, remove seeds and cut into slices, cubes or balls. Cover with 30 percent syrup.
NectarinesPeel, pit and halve. Blanch for 30 seconds and cool immediately in ice cold water. Dip in diluted lemon juice to discourage discolouration. Place in freezer bags - remove any excess air and freeze for up to 3 months. These may not freeze as well as other fruits.
OrangesPeel and section. Collect juice from peeling to cover fruit. Freeze in zip lock bags or containers. Grapefruit juice is freezable if you would prefer to just juice them and freeze that. Do not freeze whole - it will split and dry out. Some variety of oranges can be bitter if frozen for too long. Juice is fine. Should be ok for 3 months max. 
PeachesSlit a cross in the skin of the peaches to make removing the skin easier. Blanch for 30 seconds then immediately place in ice cold water. Peel the skin (it should come off easily enough with your fingers) Halve and remove the stone then slice. Place in a container and pour water over them - leave enough room for them to expand. You can dry freeze peach slices by doing all of the above and skipping the liquid you add to the container. If you do not want them to clump together, pre freeze in a single layer on a tray until firm then transfer to your chosen container. You can use a syrup mix or sugar to preserve them too if wished. Whole peaches can be frozen, wash and pat dry then wrap in newspaper.  Peaches freeze well for 7-9 months
PearsPeel, core and slice up. Soak in diluted lemon juice for 30-40 seconds. Line the slices up in a single layer on a tray and freeze till firm. Transfer into a freezer bag or container once firmed up. Ok in the freezer for 6-9 months.
PineapplePeel skin and remove eyes. Slice, dice or cut into pieces. Can be frozen as is in freezer bags or containers. Personally i find pineapple mushy once thawed but i use it for sorbet or smoothies. Can suck on frozen pineapple too. 
Plums, PrunesWash and stem. Cut in half and remove stone. Can slice or freeze in halves. Lay on a tray in a single row to firm up then transfer to bags/containers.  Best used in jams, pies, smoothies etc after being thawed. 
RaspberriesWash carefully. Drain and dry pack.
RhubarbWash and cut into pieces. Can be frozen raw but keeps it flavour better if blanched first. Blanch for 1 min, immediately put in ice cold water. Pat dry and freeze. 
StrawberriesWash with cold water and drain, repeat until water runs clear. Be careful not to leave the strawberries in water as they will lose their flavour. Slice large strawberries and mix with dry sugar to help them keep firm. Medium to small can be kept whole. Freeze in containers or zip lock bags. 
I am not an expert, i have frozen some of these fruits but not personally others. All information was taken from google. 

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