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Preparing Fruits for Freezing

Note:   We have several pick-your-own farms nearby, so we pick about 5-7 quarts of blueberries and several quarts of raspberries.  We "quick-freeze"  them the same day on a cookie sheet  and pack only enough in a quart-sized baggie to lay in a single layer in the freezer, so they don't get crushed.  We have blueberry pancakes and raspberry milkshakes until the next picking season.  

Source:    Freezing Fruits and Vegetables,  William Schafer and Shirley T. Munson.     Produced by Communication and Educational Technology Services, University of  Minnesota Extension Service.

Apples Most firm-fleshed cooking varieties, especially apples suitable for pies or sauces.Wash in cold water, peel, core, and cut into pie slices. An ascorbic acid powder sold in supermarkets to prevent browning of fruit may be used. Follow package directions. Fill container, seal, label, date and freeze. OR: Soak apple slices in brine solution ( cup salt to 1 gallon water) for 15 minutes. Drain. Pack in sugar syrup using 2 cups sugar and teaspoon ascorbic acid to 1 quart water. OR: Wash whole apples, drain and dry. Place in freezer bags. Freeze. To use for pie, sauce or other cooked dessert, run cold water over each frozen apple just before peeling. Peel, slice and use immediately.

Apricots Well-ripened fruits of uniform golden-yellow color. Apricots are better canned than frozen.Wash in cold water and sort. Dip six fully-ripened apricots into boiling water until skins loosen, about 15 to 20 seconds. Chill, peel, halve and remove pits. Fill containers one-third full of syrup—3 cups sugar to 1 quart water with teaspoon ascorbic acid. Pack apricots in syrup. OR: Halve soft ripe fruit, steam 4 minutes, crush and pack with 1 cup sugar to 8-9 cups fruit.

Blackberries, Boysenberries, Dewberries, Loganberries, Youngberries and Nectarberries.Wash in cold water and sort. Pack in sugar syrup using 3 cups sugar to 1 quart water. OR: Crush and pack in sugar using 1 cup sugar to 7-8 cups fruit. For pies, pack berries dry without sugar.

Blueberries Any good quality berry, cultivated or wild.Wash in cold water and sort. For desserts, pack in sugar syrup using 3 cups sugar to 1 quart water. OR: Pack in sugar using 1 cup sugar to 8-9 cups fruit. For pies, pack dry without sugar or sugar syrup. Pie cherries Any good quality cherry.Wash in cold water, stem and pit. For pies, use 1 to 2 cups sugar to 4 cups cherries for 9-inch pie. To improve color, add teaspoon ascorbic acid.

Sweet cherries Choose bright, fully ripe cherries.Wash in cold water, sort, stem, and pit. Pack in syrup using 2 cups sugar to 1 quart water, teaspoon ascorbic acid, and either 1 teaspoon citric acid or 4 teaspoons lemon juice. Citrus Fruit Mixes Available citrus fruits.Wash, peel, section or slice fruit. Sprinkle sugar over each layer of citrus fruit, sweetening to taste. Let stand in refrigerator until fruit forms its own juice. If you wish to keep the mix 3-4 months, add teaspoon ascorbic acid to the sugar used for each 2 pints fruit.

Cranberries Any good quality fruit.Wash in cold water, sort and pack without sugar. Currants Red Lake and similar large fruit varieties.Wash in cold water and sort. Pack in sugar using 1 cup sugar to 8-9 cups fruit. For cooking, pack dry without sugar. Gooseberries Any good cooking variety.Wash in cold water and sort. Pack without sugar or syrup or mix berries and sugar called for in pie recipe.

Ground Cherries Any available varieties.Wash in cold water and sort. Husk, then scald cherries for 2 minutes. Pack in sugar syrup, 3 cups sugar to 1 quart water.

Muskmelons-Cantaloupes Use firm-fleshed fruit.Wash in cold water. Cut flesh into - to -inch cubes or balls. Cover with sugar syrup, using 2 cups sugar to 1 quart water. You can add whole seedless grapes. Serve partially frozen.

Nectarines Any good quality fruit.Same as apricots for preparation and packing.

Peaches Choose well ripened fruit of good quality.Wash in cold water and sort. Dip 3 or 4 peaches into boiling water until skins loosen—15-20 seconds. Chill and peel. Freeze in a sugar syrup following directions for apricots. You may halve, quarter, or slice peaches. See steps 4 and 5 under To Freeze Fruits. OR: Freeze non-browning varieties with dry sugar using teaspoon ascorbic acid and 4 cups sugar with 8 pounds fruit (about 4 quarts).

Pineapple Any fruit of bright appearance, dark orange-yellow color.Peel and core. Dice, slice or cut into wedges. Cover with syrup, 3 cups sugar to 1 quart water. OR: pack in dry sugar, 1 cup sugar to 8-9 cups fruit. Do not use uncooked pineapple in gelatin molds.

Raspberries Red or purple fruit of good quality.Wash in cold water and sort. Pack raspberries in syrup, 3 cups sugar to 1 quart water. OR: Pack in dry sugar, 1 cup sugar to 7-8 cups fruit. Handle gently. Pack purple raspberries for jam without sweetening.

Rhubarb Select stalks that are crisp and tender and of good red color in early spring. Do not pick after July 1.Remove leaves and woody ends, wash in cold water and cut in 1-inch lengths. Do not blanch. For sauce, pack in sugar syrup using 3 cups sugar to 1 quart water. For pies, pack in dry sugar using 1 cup sugar to 4 cups rhubarb, or pack without sugar for a few months' storage.

Strawberries Choose firm, ripe berries of bright red color, or rich aromatic flavor.Wash in cold water, sort and stem. Pack whole, sliced (preferred), or crushed berries in 1 cup sugar to 7- 8 cups fruit. OR: Pack whole berries in syrup, 3-4 cups sugar to 1 quart water.