How to preserve summer fruit

Aug 31, 2010 at 11:19 a.m. ET

How can you preserve summer fruit so you can enjoy it all year long? Just follow these simple tips on freezing, thawing, and preserving your favorite summer produce to enjoy on those cold days of winter.

Frozen berries

Freezing Fruit

When freezing fruit for later use in fall or winter, it is important to remember to choose the freshest and tastiest fruit possible. You also want to choose fruit that is ripe enough to eat now because freezing it will simply keep it in the same stage as it was before it was frozen.

Not all fruits freeze well. Stone fruits like plums and peaches freeze well (just rinse, dry, and slice into wedges), individual fruits like grapes and blueberries (rinse and freeze) also freeze well, and even fruits like pineapple and cantaloupe work well when frozen correctly (simply peel and cube). The only fruits that should be peeled before being frozen are fruits with thick, inedible skins like cantaloupe and pineapple, otherwise it is difficult to peel the skin off of these fruits once frozen and thawed.

Fruit can be frozen in plastic containers or plastic sealable bags, whatever you use, make sure the vessel seals well and is moisture proof. Don't over stuff the container because fruit is made mostly of water it will expand as it freezes so leave plenty of space. Also, make sure to date the container so you know how long it has been in the freezer. Most fruit will freeze well for up to 3 months.

Thawing Fruit

To avoid a soggy, mushy mess of fruit thaw them on a countertop for 1 to 3 hours or in the refrigerator for 4 to 6 hours. Some fruits, like raspberries or grapes can be eaten frozen right from the freezer. Remember to use the fruits as soon as they are thawed or they may lose flavor and texture.

What to do with Frozen Fruits

Frozen fruits are perfect to use for pies, jams, jellies, cakes, beverages, or even sauces for meats and fish. The uses of frozen fruits are unlimited, just use them how you would any fresh fruit.

Fruits that Freeze Well

Apricots, all berries, bananas, cantaloupe, cherries, grapes, peaches, pears, pineapple, plums, and rhubarb.

Up next: Recipes made with frozen fruit >>

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