Date: March 1989 (Revised April 1995)
Source: NDSU Extension Service Nutrition Specialists
Freezing is one of the best ways to preserve the original color, flavor and nutritive value of most fruits. However, the texture is sometimes disappointing. Do not store frozen food longer than 12 to 18 months.
Select and freeze at proper maturity. Since freezing cannot improve the quality of food, it is important to use only fruit at peak maturity. It should be firm and ripe. Set unripe fruit aside to ripen at room temperature.
Work quickly. Prepare fruit quickly in small quantities just before you freeze it. Wash fruit in cold water, a little at a time, to avoid bruising. Prepare as for serving. Pack in amounts needed for one meal and freeze promptly.
There are some utensils you should not use when you prepare acidic produce. You may get "off" flavors when you use iron or chipped enamelware utensils. Use containers designed for freezer use. While you prepare fruits to freeze, use an antioxidant like lemon juice or ascorbic acid to keep light-colored fruits from turning brown.
Most fruits have better texture and flavor if packed in sugar or a syrup. A syrup covering is better for fruits that will be served uncooked. To make it, dissolve one cup sugar in three cups water. Use more sugar according to taste. Pack prepared fruit in rigid containers and cover with syrup. It is important to leave at least one inch head space to allow for expansion during freezing. To keep fruit submerged in syrup, place a small piece of crumpled, moisture-resistant paper between the fruit and lid.
For a dry sugar pack, cut the fruit into a shallow bowl. Sprinkle with sugar and dissolve it by stirring. Pack the fruit-sugar mix when the sugar dissolves. Freeze immediately. With many fruits, this method freezes the fruits in their own juices.
Thaw frozen fruit in the refrigerator. For immediate use, put the container in cold water. Watch it carefully. Do not let water enter the container and use the fruit while it still has ice crystals in it. Many completely defrosted fruits are very soft in texture.
For future reference, you may want to obtain a copy of Extension bulletin HE-192, "Freezing Fruits," which is available at your county office of the NDSU Extension Service.
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For More Information Contact your North Dakota County Extension Office of the NDSU Extension Service for additional information or see our main NDSU Web Page for publications and articles on Agriculture, Horticulture, Youth and Family, Business and Community and Food and Nutrition at http://www.ag.ndsu.nodak.edu/