Fruits and veggies of all kinds can easily be frozen and stored for several months. Did you know that it’s simple, effective, and a great idea to freeze fresh fruits and vegetables for future use? In this post I’ll give you some tips on how to freeze fresh fruits & vegetables like apples, kale, grapes, oranges, and more.
All fruits and veggies should not be frozen in the same manner. This post will explain the proper way to freeze fresh fruits and vegetables as well as how to thaw them out for future enjoyment. If you have any questions on any fruits and veggies I have not listed, please feel free to contact me and I will update this accordingly.
Why Should We Freeze Fresh Fruits & Veggies?
Freezing fresh fruits and veggies is a wonderful way to reduce waste, save money, and stock up on nutrient rich foods for future use.
Let’s face it, most of the country has gone into panic mode with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) spreading. With quarantines happening and the fact that leaving your house just doesn’t seem tempting right now, I was asked to write this post about how you can plan ahead when it comes to perishable foods like fruits and vegetables.
One simple way to ensure that you will have a stock of nutrient rich ingredients on hand for your family is to buy fresh vegetables and fruit in bulk then freeze everything until you want to use it. It isn’t quite as simple as throwing the items in freezer bags though. So keep reading to find out how to freeze fresh fruits and vegetables correctly.
Fruits and veggies are perishable food ingredients that can begin growing mold and spoiling after two or three days after purchasing. The benefits of having freshly frozen fruit and vegetables on hand is that you can use them in smoothies, soups, for snacking, and even juicing. In fact, if you freeze your fruits and vegetables properly they will taste fresh and tasty when you thaw and use them, even several months later.
In St. Louis we have had Coranavirus cases and this has led to all of the stores being sold out of hand sanitizer, toilet paper, paper towels, disinfecting wipes, and more. Non perishable food and water is depleting and stores like Costco are putting limits on how much you can buy. Some fear that this can eventually lead to a shortage of all types of food, including fresh fruits and vegetables.
The good news about that is that you can stock up on all the fruit and veggies you want to and freeze it. And honestly, I do this anyway just because when I buy fruit and veggies from big box stores like Costco I realized long ago that it was wasting money in the long run since I threw out so much of the excess. So I began freezing half of all of the fruits and veggies and using it as I needed for smoothies, stews, sauces, etc.
How To Freeze Fresh Fruits & Vegetables.
You may be surprised to know that you can freeze more than just berries, pineapple, and veggies that you usually see packaged in the frozen food section. In fact, you can freeze oranges, pears, bananas, kale, broccoli, apples, and any kind of fruit or veggie you can think of. You just need to do this the correct way.
The method for freezing fruits and veggies is similar, as you will wash, dry, then freeze them on a baking sheet before placing into freezer bags. But there will be some differences depending on the fruit or veggie. Most fruits and veggies can be frozen up to 6 months.
For berries like strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and also grapes use a straightforward method like this. Rinse the fruit in a colander. Then spread them over paper towels (or a clean drying mat) to dry. Next, line a large baking sheet. Then spread them in a single layer on that cookie sheet. Place them in the freezer until they are completely frozen. Do not leave the fruit uncovered in the freezer for more than 12 hours or they can develop freezer burn! Then to finish the process, put all the berries in a freezer bag. Make sure to squeeze out any excess air before sealing. Store in freezer for up to 6 months.
Note that you should spread the fruit out and freeze prior to bagging so it won’t clump together or collect any extra ice crystals. This is an essential step if you plan on thawing out the fruit before consuming. Additionally, since the fruit is loose and not sticking together, you can take out only as much as you plan to use at the time. To thaw the berries, take only what you will be using. You should not re-freeze fruit after thawing. Place the frozen berries in a bowl and place in the fridge overnight. Then drain out any excess juice before eating.
Now let’s go over some fruits that have slightly different methods of freezing.
Let’s start with citrus. Oranges and other citrus fruits like lemons can definitely be frozen and used for up to 3 months. Whole lemons and limes can be frozen whole or sliced and frozen. Use the same method of freezer bags and removing all air from them before sealing. If you freeze them whole then you can still use the zest and they will be juicy inside. To thaw them remove them as needed and zest them while frozen. Then hold under warm running water for 30 seconds, turning it under water. Freeze up to 3 months, keeping in mind they will dry out if frozen too long.
For oranges, peel the oranges and remove as much as the pith as possible. Then quarter them and freeze them in bags. When ready to enjoy, remove them and allow them to thaw at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
Avocados can be frozen, however, they should be pureed with citrus, like lime juice.
Tomatoes can be frozen effectively using a couple of methods. First, you wash and dry, then stem core, and cut them into wedges. Place on baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, freeze for 12 hours. Then remove to a freezer bag. Alternatively, wash whole tomatoes and remove stems. Then place them on parchment lined baking sheets and freeze whole. If you want them without skins then they should be blanched. Simply dip tomatoes in boiling water for minute until the skin begins to split. Peel and then follow the method of previous tomatoes.
Bananas should be sliced and then put in a single layer of a baking sheet. Freeze for about an hour. Then put them all into a freezer bag and store up to months.
Apples & Pears You can certainly freeze fruits like apples and pears. But you do need to wash, core, then slice them and soak them in lemon juice for minutes. That prevents the fruit from browning. Follow the same method as above for freezing on baking sheet then bagging. Freeze for up to 6 months.
Freezing fresh vegetables uses similar methods to freeing fresh fruit. However, when freezing vegetables, make sure to go the extra step of blanching them. This will preserve their flavor, texture, and nutritional value. Think of it as sealing in all the good stuff first.
When freezing leafy greens like kale and spinach you definitely have to wash them and pick them from stem first. Then you need to dry them and spread them over baking sheets to allow them to freeze without clumping and getting excess ice crystals. Then blanch them by dunking them in boiling water for 2 minutes.
Veggies like carrots and parnsips should be washed and peeled. Then they can either be sliced or frozen whole. But they should also be blanched. Allow to boil for 2 minutes if sliced or 4 minutes if whole. Lay on parchment lined baking sheet and freeze prior to bagging.
Peppers and veggies like snap peas are simple to freeze. Wash and dry them. Then slice peppers and set on the baking tray to freeze. Then put in freezer bags.
Broccoli and cauliflower should be washed and cut into florets of desired size. Then blanche them for 3 minutes prior to laying on baking sheets and freezing in a single layer. Then store in freezer bags for up to 5 months.
*To thaw frozen veggies, place the amount you are using into a colander. Then run under cool water until thawed. For leafy greens, squeeze out excess water before using.
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