There are few things more glorious than strolling through your local farmers market, enjoying the bounty of summer’s fruit. But how do you extend the shelf life of these natural sweets into autumn and winter while reducing food and plastic waste? By freezing, you can enjoy local, seasonal fruit all year round.
Can you freeze fruit?
Whether you love nectarines, peaches, and citrus or raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries, we’ve got good news: no matter what tickles your fancy, all fruit can be frozen! However, there may be optimal ways to pack fruits, freeze whole fruits, and use certain fruits once thawed.
How do you freeze fresh fruit?
First, stock up on fruit from the farmers market or grocery store (the more local, the healthier for you and the planet). If you’re visiting the farmers market, select the “uglier” or very ripe fruits, as these will often be cheaper and are better for freezing; the more ripe, the more flavor will maintain through freezing. Don’t see any non-perfect produce? Just ask the vendor — they may have some hidden!
Then, you’ll want to prep your fruit beforehand and store it properly in freezer-safe containers, like Stasher reusables, to prevent freezer burn. Freezer burn happens when moisture from food evaporates and creates ice crystals, depleting the flavor and quality. (Note: Food that has freezer burn is still safe to consume.) It’s also important to keep in mind how to preserve nutrients since fruit and vegetables stored in the freezer for too long (say, over six months) will begin to lose their nutritional content. This also means avoiding blanching of certain leafy produce — like rhubarb — as doing so can deplete the vitamin c, aka ascorbic acid.
Let’s get on with how to freeze by following this super easy process:
- Wash, dry, and slice up your fruit (removing cores, stems, and all the things you wouldn’t want to eat). Berries will not need to be chopped. Make sure that your fruit cools to room temperature before freezing because putting warm food in the freezer encourages freezer burn!
- Place the cut up fruit in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with compostable parchment paper or a silicone sheet liner.
- Freeze the fruit on the baking sheet for about 2-3 hours, or until fully frozen. Pre-freezing the fruit on a tray prevents the fruit from sticking together so you don’t end up with one big blob.
- Once frozen, transfer fruit into a freezer-safe Stasher bag or bowl, removing as much air as possible as you close the Pinch-Loc® seal. Stasher reusables are perfect for storing frozen fruit and you can easily label them using a non-toxic chalk marker.
How long can you store frozen fruit?
Frozen fruit will remain safe to eat for an extended period of time, but you may want to enjoy it within six to nine months for the best taste and nutritional value. When you’re ready to use it, simply thaw it or throw it into a recipe that calls for frozen fruit. Your fruit will be great for making smoothies, adding texture to oatmeal, or adding a little extra something to ice cream.
How do you thaw frozen fruit?
If you’d like to thaw the fruit, you can do so by placing your Stasher filled with frozen fruit in the fridge, or placing it in a bowl of cold water. Make sure to only thaw as much as you want to use — you won’t want to freeze it again. Keep in mind that the texture of thawed fruit will change, so it’s better to use it as part of a recipe where it can be mushier. Frozen and thawed fruit is great for making cobblers, compotes, adding to baked goods or pancakes, pies, and more.
Another way to use frozen fruit and save time is to create smoothie packs in the freezer. This follows the same process as outlined above to pre-freeze the fruit on trays, but instead of separating and storing frozen fruit by the variety of fruit, you can create pre-mixed packs of smoothie fruit using our Sandwich or Stand-up Mini bags. When you’re ready to enjoy, dump the whole bag into the blender, add your favorite liquid, a protein powder if you so desire, and blend.
Why freeze fruit?
You may be wondering, “Why not just buy pre-frozen fruit?” Well, that’s certainly an option! But buying fresh fruit from a farmers market allows you to support local and optimize the health benefits, while lowering the environmental impact since it doesn’t have to travel so far. Freezing your own fruit also helps you avoid accumulating extra plastic packaging that pre-frozen fruit comes in. And you don’t have to stop at fruit — learn how to freeze vegetables in your Stashers!
It’s easy, affordable and affordable to learn how to freeze fruit, and helps you have a steady stash in your freezer no matter what time of year it is.