Freezing fruit is a great opportunity to avoid waste and help save you money.
Like vegetables, most fruit can be frozen quite easily. However, due to the water content of some fruits, they can become soft and mushy upon thawing, so they’re not really suitable for eating whole once thawed.
Peaches are a perfect example. You can freeze peaches whole, but if you leave them to thaw on the benchtop, they’ll collapse and discolour. You can defrost them in the microwave for 30-60 seconds, and while they’ll taste similar to the original, the water content is off – they’re incredibly juicy, make a horrendous mess when eating and just aren’t as good as fresh.
Although some frozen fruit aren’t suitable to eat whole, they are ideal used in smoothies, fruit pies and cakes. Frozen berries can be frozen whole, and are wonderful made into a coulis to add flavour and colour to cheesecakes, pancakes, crepes and pavlovas.
Freezing your fruit is ideal if you have fruit starting to turn, have a glut from your own garden, or bought way too much for your family to possibly eat. You can peel, chop, bag and freeze with a minimum of effort.
I love fruit smoothies in the summer and freeze my own favourite mix. I place a selection of berries and peeled bananas on a tray lined with paper and freeze. Once frozen, I bag them into a mix of my favourite flavours, ready to go in the freezer. I simply pop the mixed frozen fruit into a blender, add a little milk and icecream and blitz. Absolutely divine, and perfect after a hot day working on the farm.
Frozen fruit are also perfect for making into pies for dessert.
Line a pie dish with shortcrust pastry (store bought or homemade). Place the thawed fruit into the dish and top with another sheet of pastry. Brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 180°C for 30-40 minutes until golden brown.
Or for a thicker, softer consistency, you can place the frozen fruit in a small saucepan and sprinkle with a little sugar. Bring to the boil and simmer until thick. Once cooled, place in a pie dish lined with shortcrust pastry (store bought or homemade). Top with another sheet of pastry, brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 180°C for 30-40 minutes until golden brown.
Either way, they are the easiest and tastiest homemade fruit pies.
Thawed, frozen fruit are perfect in banana cakes, apple tea cakes, and fruit muffins. And as long as you haven’t iced them, they can then be popped back into the freezer to eat later. Great for school and work snacks.
If you want to try freezing fruit at home, keep in mind that most fruit will need to be peeled and diced prior to freezing. But there are exceptions to this, like most berries and cherries. For cherries, make sure you remove the pip first. I made this mistake once and when I thawed the cherries I then had to remove the pip. I had red hands for days after, but they we’re worth it. For the berries, just remove any stalks first and freeze.
Apples, peaches, nectarines, plums and other similar fruits should be peeled first and the stones/pips removed. Cut into slices or chunks and arrange in a single layer on a tray lined with baking paper and freeze. For apples, toss them in a little lemon juice first to stop them from discolouring. Once frozen, place them together in a zip lock bag and remove as much air as possible. These are ideal to use in pies and crumbles.
Grapes are another fruit that can be a little tricky as they don’t thaw well and to be honest, are really gross when thawed. However, it’s worth trying as they’re great to eat frozen as a summer time treat, or popped into the summer salad.
You can also freeze citrus. Yes, lemons, limes and oranges. Either:
- freeze whole, then place in a zip lock bag.
- cut into slices, then lay on a tray lined with baking paper and freeze. Once frozen, place them together in a zip lock bag.
- peel the zest, then lay on a tray lined with baking paper and freeze. Once frozen, place them together in a zip lock bag.
- juice them and freeze into ice cubes.
Freezing citrus is a great option when they’re in season as they can be purchased cheaply, and in bulk. You can then use them from the freezer for up to a year. Perfect to use in cooking when you need some lemon or lime juice. Or baking when you need some lemon or orange zest. They are also perfect to use in summer to add to your drinks or use as a garnish.
So there you go. Next time you’ve got some excess fruit, or fruit that is just starting to turn, just pop them in your freezer!