Freezing fruits is one of the easiest, fastest ways to preserve these juicy, sun-kissed morsels. You can choose from many different ways to freeze fruits. Some you can toss whole into freezer bags and call it done. Others need to be packed in a sweetened syrup to help fruit maintain its flavor and color.
Deciding what fruits to freeze depends on your family's personal tastes. For pie eaters, you might want to tackle freezing pear or apple slices; smoothie lovers might opt for a stash of frozen lemon or avocado. Dieters everywhere revel in frozen grapes or watermelon as a low-calorie snack.
Your mind might be filled with dozens of questions about freezing: Can you freeze fresh pineapple? Can you freeze lemon wedges? Can you freeze cantaloupe? The answer to all of these questions is a resounding yes. Each fruit requires specific freezing methods, and which method you use often depends on how you'll use the final product.
Adapt the various methods of freezing fruit based on your plans for the frozen item. For instance, if you enjoy fresh, nutritious smoothies, consider freezing items like avocado or watermelon as puree frozen in ice cube trays. Store frozen cubes in zipper-style freezer bags, and you can grab as many cubes as you need for each smoothie.
Fresh pineapple freezes well without any special pre-treatment, but apples, avocados, and pears need to be treated to prevent browning. Always read freezing recipes thoroughly before starting to be sure you understand the necessary steps—and to be certain you have all the ingredients on hand.
You can individually quick freeze many fruits on a parchment-lined tray. Some candidates for this treatment include cantaloupe balls, grapes, lemon wedges or slices, pear slices, or avocado chunks. Once items freeze fully, seal them in zipper-style freezer bags. To prevent possible freezer burn, remove as much air as possible before sealing.
If you have a vacuum sealer, it's a cinch to create airtight pouches of frozen fruit. You can also remove air from bags using a straw to suck out air as you seal the bag. Or submerge filled, open bags in water to force air out of the bag. Keep the bag opening above the water surface, and seal it while it is submerged.
Fruits packed in syrup freeze better in containers. Always remember to leave some head space in containers to allow room for expansion as materials freeze. Some fruits, like apples and pears, need to stay submerged in syrup as they freeze to avoid having the fruits turn brown. To keep fruit submerged, fill the headspace with crumpled parchment or wax paper.
Above all, remember that freezing doesn't improve fruit quality, so you always want to start with the freshest blemish-free fruit you can find. How long do frozen fruits last? A good rule of thumb is to use most fruits within nine to fourteen months, although the ideal window does vary depending on the fruit and freezing method used. You'll usually find specific recommendations in recipes.