Want to freeze fruit for convenient, long lasting results? Here’s EVERYTHING you need to know.
Three Options for Freezing Fruit:
Fruit can easily be frozen without any sugar or without blanching. Called the Dry Pack method, this is how most of us prefer freezing fruit. However, if you’re looking for the ultimate in frozen fruit quality, using sugar, either granulated (Dry Sugar Pack) or in syrup form (Syrup Pack) will go a long way to protecting the colour, texture and shape of the fruit.
1. Dry Pack – Easiest and Most Common
Freeze without any added sugar. Best for whole, small fruit or berries which will be cooked or baked (applesauce, jam, muffins, crisps).
2. Dry Sugar Pack – Ideal for Sliced Fruit
Freeze with sugar. Helps retain texture and shape of the fruit. Ideal for soft, sliced fruits like apricots, strawberries, plums and cherries or any fruit destined to become pie. Simply coat fruit with sugar all around and place in freezer bag.
3. Syrup Pack – Best for Holding Shape
Freeze with a liquid sugar solution. This method is best for retaining shape and texture of fruit. Ideal for uncooked desserts like fruit cocktail. For details on how to make the syrup and how much to use for different types of fruit click here.
Step By Step Guide for How to Freeze Fruit
1. Clean the Fruit
Wash fruit under running water or quickly dip and swish in a bowl of water, do not soak.
2. Drain & Dry
Pat fruit dry or lay on clean cloth to air dry. The more water you can remove, the fewer ice crystals will develop.
3. Prep the Fruit
Hull, slice, pit, peel and de-seed fruit as needed. Place fruits that darken quickly (apples, pears, apricots, etc.) in an anti-browning solution of 1/4 cup lemon juice in 1 quart water until ready for next step.
4. Flash Freeze
For easy, free flowing frozen fruit, flash freeze your fruit first. Spread fruit in a single layer on a large baking sheet or tray. Place the whole tray in the freezer for an hour or two until pieces are frozen.
5. Label & Bag
Pour frozen fruit into a freezer container or bag, remove as much air as possible and freeze. Be sure to label with the date and what’s inside.
I prefer using freezer bags where I can remove extra air by inserting a straw into a small opening and sucking out as much air as possible.
6. Store and Use
Keep fruit in freezer for 8 to 12 months. It will be safe to eat much longer than that but quality will go down. When taking fruit, be sure to re-close the bag as tightly as possible and work quickly for the least amount of thawing and air exposure.
For most uses frozen fruit is best used when pieces can be separated but are still slightly frozen. Do not thaw unless specified in recipe.
Tips for Freezing Fruit
Be Aware that Texture Will Change
Most fruit has a high water content. When water in fruit freezes it expands and breaks open the cell walls making fruit softer and possibly mushy when thawed. As long as you’re aware and plan accordingly, this is no big deal. A smoothie with mushy strawberries is every bit as good as a smoothie with fresh strawberries!
Fruit like grapes, watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew are especially sensitive to freezing. Try them as follows:
Use melons to make granita or sorbet.
Eat frozen grapes without thawing or pop them directly into cold beverages like ice cubes – a refreshing treat for all.
Choose Quality Fruits and Vegetables
Select only fresh, firm, high quality fruit and freeze as quickly after picking or buying as you can. Over ripe, bruised or fruit stored in the fridge for several days will lead to lower quality fruit that won’t last as long.
Pack in Convenient Sizes
Unless you flash freeze produce as described above, freeze your frozen fruits in convenient portion sized packages. That way you only have to thaw what you need.
Remove Air After Every Use
Every time you open a package of frozen fruit you expose it to air and moisture. Over time, this creates freezer burn and ice crystals. This doesn’t make fruit unsafe to eat, but it doesn’t look or taste good. To reduce freezer burn and ice crystals always push out as much air out of the freezer bag as possible and reseal tightly. Open and close the freezer door quickly and limit the time frozen fruit spends out of the freezer.
Following these best practices will have you enjoying your frozen fruit until next year’s crop is ready to harvest. Just don’t forget about it, be sure to eat it throughout the year!
More Links and Resources
And if you’re curious about how to freeze vegetables check out the following:
Whether you’re getting fruit from your yard, the grocery store, a farmer’s market or a U-pick, I want to see you enjoying your favorite fruit. Take a photo and tag me on Instagram @getgettys so I can see it and like it!
Sign up to get articles by Getty delivered to your inbox. You’ll get recipes, practical tips and great food information like this. Getty is a Professional Home Economist, speaker and writer putting good food on tables and agendas. She is the author of Manitoba’s best-selling Prairie Fruit Cookbook, Founder of Fruit Share, a mom and veggie gardener.