Preserving Seasonal Fruits without Canning

We wait all year for the fresh fruits to come into season and it seems to pass so quickly – too quickly actually. We want to preserve these sweet morsels for the cold winter months but who has time for all the work of canning.  Luckily, it is fairly easy to freeze seasonal fruits.

fruit frozen

It is very tempting to just throw a bunch of fruit into a freezer bag and call it done.  But you usually end up with a big frozen block that thaws into a watery pulpy mess that is not really useful to make cobblers, pies, and smoothies in the months ahead.  But with just a bit of planning you can freeze these fruits so they stay in perfect condition.

Trust me, this will make preparing those winter pies so much easier.

1. Wash and dry the fruit. Lay them in a single layer on a clean cloth to dry. Be sure they completely dry before freezing or they will quickly develop freezer burn.

2. Slice and prepare the fruit just like you are going to use them immediately. This means peel, core, hull, remove pits, remove stems, remove rinds, and slice into chunks or wedges.  Smaller fruits such as berries can be left whole.

3. Arrange the fruit on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. It’s okay if the fruit is touching slightly but no layering or overlapping.

4. Freeze until the fruits are solid. This should take about 4 hours. You can go longer but be sure not to wait more then a day or freezer burning will start.

5. Label containers and pack to freeze again. Lifting the parchment paper helps dislodge sticky fruit.  Touching the fruit with your hands will cause it to thaw too quickly so use a spatula to transfer them. Seal tightly, pressing out as much air as possible, and return to the freezer.

fruit frozen collage

They will keep for at least 3 month – sometimes longer. And there is no need to thaw the fruit before using it. Freezing does cause fruit to be a bit mushy looking. This shouldn’t make one bit of difference in your baked goods and trust me, their sweet fresh flavor is all there.  Enjoy!

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