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How To Freeze Fruit Using The Dry Pack Method
If you have an abundance of fruit from your garden, freezing the fruit you will not use immediately is a great way to have fruit all winter long. I also buy extra fruit at the local farmers market or when it is on sale and freeze it for later use. Frozen fruit at the grocery store costs me $4.00 to $5.00 per pound so if I can buy it at the end of the season when it is the cheapest I am saving money. I also know there are no additives or preservatives in my fruit.
Frozen fruit will last 8-12 months in your freezer. Keep in mind that fruits that have been frozen are not as crisp as fresh fruit. They will be softer but are still great for baking or making sauces for meat or desserts. I also add frozen fruits to drinks. Ice tea with raspberries is one of my favorites.
METHODS TO PRESERVE FRUIT
There are three ways to preserve fruit – canning, drying or freezing. The easiest, quickest, and cheapest method is to freeze the fruit. And there is no special equipment needed. You need plastic bags, plastic containers or canning/freezer jars and the freezer space.
There are three ways to freeze fruit – syrup pack (adding a syrup made of sugar and water to the fruit), sugar pack (adding sugar to the fruit) or dry pack. I prefer the dry pack method because it is the easiest and you are not adding sugar to the fruit. In addition, you can take from the freezer the exact amount of fruit you need – you don’t have to take the entire container out. Because the fruit is frozen individually, it also thaws faster. Not all fruit can be frozen using the dry pack method so consult the list below.
DRY PACK METHOD
There are two ways to freeze fruit using this method.
Containers – put the fruit in a plastic container, leaving ½” of head space, and freeze.
Tray – put the fruit in a single layer on a tray and put in the freezer. Once the fruit is frozen, put fruit in plastic containers or plastic freezer bags and freeze. I generally use plastic bags because I can get more air out of the bag. To prevent freezer burn, transfer the fruit from the trays to containers or bags as soon as it is frozen.
I prefer the tray method because the fruit is frozen in individual pieces and you can take out the exact amount of fruit you need.
PREPARING THE FRUIT
Only use ripe, non- bruised fruit. Remove any stems. Always wash and thoroughly dry the fruit before freezing. There is one exception to this. Don’t wash blueberries before you freeze them – the skin becomes tough. Smaller fruits, like berries, can be frozen whole. Larger fruits need to be peeled, cored and sliced. See the list below for more detail.
Fruits that can be frozen whole
Blueberries (do not wash before freezing)
Fruits that need to be peeled, cored and sliced
Fruits that need to be treated with ascorbic acid
Apples – peel, core and slice fruit. For 1 quart (1 ¼ pounds) of fruit, mix ½ t of ascorbic acid in 3 T of water, sprinkle over fruit and then freeze on trays. Transfer fruit to bags or containers when frozen.
Apricots – peel, core and slice fruit. For 1 quart (7/8 pounds) of fruit, mix ¼ t of ascorbic acid in 3 T of water, sprinkle over fruit and freeze on trays. Transfer fruit to bags or containers when frozen.
Ascorbic acid will prevent darkening and will preserve the color. This can be purchased at most pharmacies or wherever canning supplies are sold.