It wasn’t all too long ago that I didn’t spend much time in the kitchen. Then I had kids and apparently, you have to feed them ALL. THE. TIME. So, I’ve had ample opportunity in the last 6 or 7 years to practice all things culinary related.
I have had my fair share of big fat flops. One of those is related to freezing berries and other fruit. Now, everyone loves a good comeback story, so I definitely did not let those berries get the best of me the next time. Go me.
So, here’s my number one tip for freezing berries. Are you ready?
TIP #1: Freeze berries in a single layer on a cookie sheet first. Then and only after they are good and hard should you transfer them from the cookie sheet into a plastic freezer bag or other freezer-safe container.
If you don’t do this, you will end up with one big clump of berries in a gallon size freezer bag, which is really no fun to separate in the dead of winter. Especially when you only need a single cup of berries for your recipe. There are really not enough swear words to get you through that frozen mess. Trust me.
Now, every rule has an exception. BLUEBERRIES are that exception. As long as the blueberries are dry when you put them into a freezer bag, they should freeze individually and not stick together. Last year, when I bought blueberries from a farmer, I bought a 5-pound bag and he recommended that I put them straight into the freezer without washing them and only wash the berries when I was ready to use them. Blueberries do get very mushy when you thaw and wash them, so be prepared for that. If you are using them for baking, it’s not a problem though.
Now, let’s move on to peaches. I freeze peaches to use in jam and smoothies, so I make sure and freeze them in slices so they are easier to use in the future.
TIP #2: If you are freezing cut fruit, like peaches, toss them with a product called Fruit Fresh first. It will keep your fruit from browning and looking gross when you freeze it.
If you want to know my easy tip for peeling all of those peaches, read this post.
The peaches will stick a little harder to the pan because they have more “juice” than berries, especially considering that you have tossed them with Fruit Fresh and a little water. Just use a spatula or spoon to pop them off the pan.
This is her “mom my hands are freezing” look.
TIP #3: Label your bags or containers with the date of when you froze the fruit and where you bought the fruit from. The date is mainly so you’ll know to use the oldest fruit first in your freezer. The place you bought them from is in the rare event that there is a recall on the fruit. This did happen to me with some peaches, but because the bag was labeled, I knew which ones were unsafe to eat. PHEW!
TIP #4: If you are freezing pureed fruit, make sure and label the freezer bag/container with the amount of pureed fruit. For instance, I freeze pureed strawberries in 4 or 8 cup increments. I know that a batch of freezer jam requires 4 cups of crushed strawberries, so I don’t have to worry about measuring my frozen puree because I measured and labeled the bag BEFORE I put it in the freezer. Easy breezy!
These tips have made my life so much easier and that makes me very happy indeed! I hope these tips help you too!