By Jillian Kramer, Glamour
If, like us, you've been spending every weekend at the farmers' market, stocking up on berries, peaches, tomatoes, and plums, you're likely saddened as you see summer--and its edible bounty--nearing its end. But you can still savor summer fruits well into the winter if you freeze them now--and we have the tips to help you do it right.
1. Wash and completely dry fruits before freezing them. We know you'll give your summer fruits a good scrub before you put them in the freezer. But did you know that if they don't dry completely and go in even a tad damp, they could develop freezer burn? Your best bet to avoid burns is to allow fruits to dry not in a colander, where moisture can collect, but laid out in a single layer on a clean dish towel so each piece of fruit is exposed to air.
2. Prep your fruits how you'll use them later. Are you envisioning a peach cobbler or crisp apple pie to warm you in the winter months? Then it's best to peel, pit, or core, and cut those fruits before you freeze them. As we know, when fruit thaws, it also often softens, which makes prepping fruits post-freeze for a pie even more difficult. This way, you can toss your fruit into a pastry shell straight from the freezer, no messy, mushy prep work required.
3. Resist the urge to throw your berries into a bag. It's tempting to toss an entire pint of fresh blueberries into a ziplock bag and call it a day. But months later, when you reach into your freezer for a quarter cup of fruit, you'll find a solid ball of berries impossible to separate. So instead, lay berries and other fresh fruits you might need in small doses in a single layer on a baking sheet, then pop them into the freezer. When they're solid, pull them back out and bag 'em. Because you waited until they were already frozen to put them into a bag, they should stay separated for the duration of their time in the freezer.
4. Label freezer containers. You'll be able to tell the difference between apples and raspberries, sure. But what about nectarines and peaches once you've peeled and cut them? By marking your freezer bags with a Sharpie, or by sticking a washi-tape label on your Tupperware container, you'll never have to fret over which fruit you just grabbed from the freezer. It's also smart to include how much fruit is in each container, so you can easily assess whether you have enough to make that recipe you've been eying.
From our experience, fruit freezes well for up to three months--and sometimes longer!--before ice crystals begin to creep into even the most carefully packaged containers. So if you start to freeze your fruit now and through the rest of the summer, you can enjoy your summer favorites even at Christmas!
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