Can You Freeze Grapes?
Can you freeze grapes? You bet you can—and once you do, you'll never look back. Really. Frozen grapes are a treat beyond compare. They're every dieters friend, and kids—even the ones who dislike all fruits—can be coaxed into eating frozen grapes. Best of all (it gets better!), freezing them couldn't be easier. Why not try your hand at freezing grapes?
Like many fruits, grapes have high water content, hovering around 80 percent depending on the type of grape. They're also packed with nutrition and are high in Vitamins C and B-1, flavonoids, disease-fighting antioxidants, potassium, and manganese. They're low-fat and low-calorie, which makes them a perfect snack food. Frozen grapes offer a healthy choice over other frozen treats.
For easiest eating, it's best to freeze seedless grapes. Stock up on grapes at your local supermarket when they're on sale, or purchase a bulk amount at your favorite warehouse club. Watch for grapes at local farmers' markets. Depending on where you live, you may be able to source fresh grapes locally.
Grapes need to be washed well before freezing. If you're using non-organic grapes, it's important to cleanse the skins well. Grapes maintain a steady position on "The Dirty Dozen," the list of fruits and vegetables most likely to contain the highest levels of pesticide residue. Remove grapes from stems before washing.
Drain grapes in a colander and/or salad spinner. You want grapes to be dry before you freeze them, so even after draining or spinning, lay them out on an old bath towel, and blot them gently with another towel. You'll get a better quality freeze, without any additional icicles attached to grapes, if they're dry when you put them in the freezer.
Place the grapes on a baking tray. It's a good idea to line the tray with parchment, plastic wrap, or wax paper first. This makes removing the frozen grapes easier, although if you have really managed to dry them well, you can place grapes directly on the tray.
Place the tray into the freezer to quick freeze the grapes. After they're frozen solid, pack grapes into freezer bags or containers. To remove air from bags, use a vacuum sealer or the straw method. Stick a straw into an edge of the bag opening, seal the bag right up to the straw, and suck the remaining air out of the bag. Seal the bag as you quickly withdraw the straw.
Plums are a natural for home gardens with their compact size and easy-growing nature. These trees tend to be beautiful specimens and bear heavy loads of fruit—not enough to overwhelm, but more than enough to balance fresh eating with sharing and putting by. ‘Opal’ plum trees are self-fertile. Fruit ripens early in the season, ripening over a two-week window, so you’re not overwhelmed with produce.
Give yourself a treat by planting a cherry tree. These trees add beauty with their spring blooms, and it’s tough to beat the tasty fruit. Just make sure you protect your crop from hungry birds with a little scare tape or netting. For small yards, look for Compact Stella, a self-fertile cherry that grows 10 to 12 feet tall and starts bearing within two years. If you’re into pie baking, plant sour cherries, which are self-fertile. Other cherries need a pollinating partner.
In warm regions (Zones 8-10), kumquats make an excellent addition to the family yard. Trees have a natural compact size and classic deep green citrus-type leaves. Fruits are small and egg shaped and decorate trees from late fall to early spring. Kumquats are fully edible—skins and flesh. Skins are sweet, while flesh is tart, making for an unusual flavor combination. It’s the ideal choice for marmalade. Trees adapt well to containers in areas with colder winters.
Grafted Trees with Multiple Cultivars
Plant everyone’s favorite apple by growing a tree with several cultivars grafted onto the trunk. You can find multi-graft trees for apples (shown), citrus, peaches, cherries and pears. With these trees, you can savor a variety of fruits in a smaller space. Multi-graft trees also extend the harvest window and provide cross-pollination partners. It’s the ideal answer for home fruit production. Follow pruning instructions carefully as different varieties may grow at different rates.
Few fruits compete with the sensory delight peaches offer, from fuzzy skin to juice-dribbling flesh. Peach trees are lovely in flower and add good color to landscapes. Most peach trees are self-fertile, so you can get away with planting just one tree. The most critical aspect of choosing a tree is cold hardiness—make sure you’re getting a tree that will survive your winters. In colder zones, avoid planting peach trees on southern exposures, or you risk early blooms that a late frost might zap. Check out columnar peaches, which take up little space and adapt to containers.
For gardeners in Zones 9 to 10, mandarin oranges can serve as a stunning landscape plant with their deep green leaves, fragrant blooms and bright orange fruit. In colder zones, choose dwarf mandarin trees for container culture. Mandarins are actually hardier than standard oranges and feature that easy-peeling fruit perfect for tossing into salads. Semi-dwarf trees usually withstand pruning to a certain size. ‘Satsumi’ is the most cold hardy variety. Other good choices are ‘Honey’ and ‘Encore.’ ‘Pixie’ is more of a shrub.
Pears combine beauty with delicious fruit that’s a gift to any size yard. Look for dwarf pears sold on rootstock Pyrodwarf, which produces trees 6 to 8 feet tall. ‘Beurre Bosc Dwarf’ is a genetic dwarf pear that grows 8 to 10 feet high. This photos shows cordon pears. Cordon refers to a type of stem training and pruning that results in a tightly upright growth form. The method works on pear or apple trees that produce fruit on spur-bearing shoots, which are short side shoots along stems. You’ll get the best harvest by planting more than one pear tree for cross pollination.
Fresh ripe apricots are nothing like their hard, store-bought cousins. A ripe apricot is actually too soft to ship, so the only way to enjoy that taste treat is to pick it fresh from the tree. Apricot trees are medium size, but you can find dwarf varieties. This fruit tree easily hold its own as an ornamental in the landscape. Some varieties are self-pollinating, but most need a partner nearby. In colder zones, look for varieties that flower later to avoid losing blossoms to late spring frosts.
Fragrant leaves, flowers and fruits make Kaffir lime a delight to grow, whether in the landscape or in a pot. Dwarf Kaffir Lime tops out at 6 to 10 feet and is versatile in the kitchen, prized for its leaves, fruit zest and juice. This is the must-have lime for preparing Thai, Lao and Cambodian cuisine. Mexican or key lime is another good choice for home gardens. Lime trees are very cold sensitive and must be protected from frost. Most limes are self-pollinating, although the flowers easily beckon bees with their sweet fragrance.
Whether you grow them in a pot or small backyard orchard, apples bring a familiar, cherished fruit to the landscape. Spring flowers transform trees into works of art. Choose dwarf or cordon-type (columnar) trees for landscapes and containers. Apple blssoms need to be cross-pollinated. Ask where you purchase your trees which varieties are compatible with yours.
Small, 1-inch fruits resemble tangerines and offer an unusual taste treat. The peels on calamondin are sweet, while the flesh has more of a tart zing. This is a citrus tree that’s commonly grown in containers. It’s one of the more cold-hardy citrus trees, tolerating temperatures to 20°F. The trees are highly ornamental with deep green leaves punctuated by white flowers or orange fruit.
When it comes to easy, figs are near the top of the list. Plants grow with few demands. Pruning may be top of the list, although if you grow naturally short types, like ‘Black Jack’ or ‘Improved Brown Turkey,’ pruning to control height isn’t needed. Some varieties send up suckers to form fig colonies that resemble an oversize shrub. You can also raise a fig tree in a container, which is one way to grow this tasty dessert fruit in colder zones. Figs are self-pollinating.
Don’t overlook lemons when planning an edible home landscape. Fresh lemons bring sparkle and color to the dinner table and play a key role in many dishes, including fish, vegetables, desserts and cocktails. Ripe ‘Improved Meyer’ lemon fruit lasts eight months or more on the tree. In colder zones, grow lemons in pots that you can haul outside for summer and place in a protected location come winter.
For a stunning fall display, you won’t go wrong adding persimmons to your landscape. Fall leaves offer a host of fiery hues, and fruits turn deep orange when ripe. Most unripe persimmons are astringent, but ripened fruits are referred to as “food of the gods.” Asian varieties tend to be shorter, while native American types are full-on trees. Look for dwarf varieties for smaller spaces. Persimmons aren’t self-fertile; you’ll need two trees for fruit production.
Botanically speaking, tangerines and mandarin oranges have the same Latin name. In California, ‘Dancy’ is a long-favorite variety, with loose skin and late-season ripening. For many orchard owners, ‘Dancy’ sets the standard for tangerine flavor. In the home garden, consider ‘Fremont’ tangerine, with fruit that’s wonderful fresh or juiced. Ripe fruit lasts up to 8 months on the tree. Another long-time California favorite is Ojai Pixie, which is usually sold as ‘Pixie’ mandarin.
Snack on frozen grapes for a healthy snack, or thaw slightly and mix with your juice of choice to create a slushy dessert. You can also freeze grapes with cubed cantaloupe or honeydew and pineapple to make a tasty fruit compote. Frozen grapes make a nice addition to smoothies and are a great snack for kids' lunches.
Make frozen grapesicles kids will love by skewering grapes with colored toothpicks before freezing. Another kid-friendly idea is to thread red, green, and purple grapes before freezing to make a frozen treat on a string. You can also use frozen grapes to replace fresh grapes in recipes, including jam.
You can puree grapes before freezing, and freeze the puree in ice cube trays. Pack the grape cubes in freezer bags. These cubes make a great addition for chilling drinks like juices, teas, or lemonade without watering them down. For best quality, eat frozen grapes—chunks or puree—within nine to 12 months.