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This is the time of year when fresh fruits and vegetables are plentiful and ready to be preserved for those months of cool weather and high priced imports in your supermarket.
Freezing your fruits and vegetables is easy – here is the basic guide to get you started preserving your favourite fruits!
How to Freeze Fruits :
- Freeze only high quality fruits
- Always use garden-fresh fruits and freeze within a few hours of gathering
- Select varieties of fruits that are recommended for freezing
- Clean and cut up fruits as for eating, cooking or baking
- Prepare and pack quickly and carefully, working with only enough fruits to fill 3 or 4 containers at a time
- Pack fruits in freezer containers, freezer bags of freezer wrappings.
- Store your fruits for up to 1 year.
How to Package Fruits:
Dry Pack: Suitable for those fruits which can be frozen without any preparation other than washing, draining, discarding imperfect ones and packing – i.e. blueberries, cranberries, currants, gooseberries, rhubarb.
Dry Sugar Pack: Suitable for those fruits which can be combined with sugar, packaged and frozen. Fold recommended amount of sugar carefully into the fruit and package to freeze. See chart below for details.
Syrup Pack: Suitable for fruits which are packed in a syrup of a strength best suited to tartness of the fruit. (see chart below for details) Slice or cut the fruits directly into the container. Leave berries whole, if desired. Be sure that the syrup covers the fruit and that there is enough head space for expansion during freezing. To keep fruit under syrup, especially apricots and peaches, place a piece of crumpled waxed paper or cellophane on top.
How to make syrup:
Add sugar to boiling water and stir until dissolved. Chill only – do not cook or heat,
Thin syrup:1 cup of sugar + 2 cups of water
Medium syrup: 1 cup of sugar + 1 cup of water
Heavy syrup: 1 cup of sugar + 3/4 cups of water
To Prevent Discolouration of Fruit:
Syrup Pack – add 1/4 teaspoon of ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) to 4 cups of syrup and stir to dissolve
Dry Sugar Pack – for apples, apricots and peaches – dissolve 1/8 teaspoon of ascorbic acid in 2 tablespoons of cold water per 2 cups of prepared fruit, sprinkle over prepared fruit and mix gently.
Serving Frozen Fruits:
To Thaw – leave in unopened container in refrigerator for about 6 hours or at room temperature for about 2 hours
To Use in Pies, Muffins or Cobblers – thaw in unopened package just until fruit can be separated. Continue as with fruit that has not been frozen.
To Use in Sauces, Jams, Jellies or Preserves – place frozen fruit directly in saucepan and continue as with fruit that has not been frozen.
To Use as Fresh Fruit – serve when partially thawed – a few ice crystals should remain
Freezing Fruits Easy Chart:
|FRUIT||PREPARATION||TREATMENT||TO YIELD 4 CUPS|
|Apples||Wash, pare, core and cut into slices||Treat to prevent discolouration.Use syrup pack or dry sugar pack||2-1/2 to 3 lbs. of apples|
|Applesauce||Prepare your favourite recipe||Chill thoroughly and pack||2-1/2 – 3-1/2 lbs. Of apples|
|Apricots||Wash and peel if desired. Leave whole,halve or cut into quarters. Remove pits.||Treat to prevent discolouration. Use thin syrup pack or dry sugar pack 0 2.3 cups of sugar to 4 cups of apricots.||1-1/2 to 2 cups|
|Blueberries||Sort out imperfect berries, wash, stem and drain||Dry pack without sugar or use 2.3 cups of sugar to 4 cups of prepared berries||1-2 quarts|
|Cherries – Sour||Sort out imperfect ones, wash, stem and pit||Dry sugar pack – use 1 cup of sugar to 4 cups of fruit or syrup pack – use heavy syrup||2-1/2 to 3 lbs. Unpitted|
|Currants and Cranberries||Stem and wash||Dry pack without sugar or syrup||1 lb.|
|Peaches||Dip in boiling water for 1-2 minutes, then run under cold water. Remove skins and pits, then slice directly into sugar or syrup||Treat to prevent discolouration. Syrup pack – use medium syrup or dry sugar pack using 2/3 cups of sugar to 4 cups of prepared fruit.||2-3 lbs.|
|Plums||Wash, half and pit||Treat to prevent discolouration. Dru sugar pack – use 2.3 cups of sugar to 4 cups of fruit or syrup pack – use thin syrup||2-3 lbs.|
|Raspberries||Sort out imperfect ones and wash||Dry sugar pack – use 1.2 cup of sugar to 4 cups of prepared fruit or Syrup pack – use thin syrup||2-2-1/2 quarts|
|Rhubarb||Wash and cut into 1″ length or make into sauce||Dry pack – without sugar or syrup or dry pack using 1 cup of sugar to 4 cups of prepared fruit.For sauce – sweeten to taste and pack cold||2-2-1/2 lbs.|
|Strawberries||Sort our imperfect ones, wash, sort and hull, Slice if desired||Dry sugar pack – use 1/2 cup of sugar to 4 cups of prepared fruit or for syrup pack – use medium syrup||1-1/2 to 2 cups|
For Guide to Freezing Vegetables, please visit:
I hope this simple guise will help you – please send in your comments and suggestions, your input is always welcomed!