It’s no secret that I am not a fan of summer with all of its heat and humidity.
There is one redeeming value of summer- the bounty of delicious fruit available.
So far this summer, I have frozen bags of strawberries, black raspberries, blueberries, and peaches. We like to use the frozen fruit in smoothies. Using it this way, you can use less ice and still have a thick, frosty smoothie, with great fruit taste.
Easiest Way to Preserve Fruits:
To begin processing fruit, first buy it at its peak. Fruit with soft spots would be better turned into jam. For freezing, you want fruit at its best.
I buy fruit at the Amish produce auction. I clear my schedule for two days. The first day is for auctioning and the second is for processing.
You will need large rimmed baking sheets, a knife, freezer Ziploc bags, and freezer space. You’ll also need citric acid or other acid to prevent peaches from turning brown. That’s it.
The easiest of all is my favorite berry, the black raspberry. All that is required is to spread the little yummy berries onto a baking sheet in a single layer.
Pop the baking sheet into the freezer and wait. Once frozen solid, remove from the pan and place into freezer bags.
Blueberries are done exactly the same and are just as simple!
Strawberries are done in like manner.
I remove the stems and then proceed to laying them out in a single layer on a rimmed cookie sheet.
Freeze solid. Bag.
Peaches do require a little more effort, but are oh so worth it!
Bring a large pot of water to just below a boil. Place the peaches into the water and let sit for 30 seconds or so.
Remove to a baking sheet.
Let cool to the touch. Using a sharp paring knife (always use a sharp knife!), gently peel the skin off. I find that beginning on the bottom of the peach is the easiest way to remove the skin. Do use care while using that knife, the peaches will be juicy and somewhat sticky. Take your time and keep your fingers out of the way of the blade.
I find that peeling them all at once is the fastest method. Once all are peeled, it’s time to slice the peaches. I set up the baking sheets in assembly line style. I slice the peaches into relatively same-sized slices.
Once I get close to the pit, I put the pit into a large saucepan (another recipe coming soon in another post!). Once all peaches are sliced, lay them out onto rimmed baking sheets. They will be juicy, so freezing individually is more difficult. Since we are using ours in smoothies, it doesn’t really matter to me if they are individual.
Sprinkle the peach slices with citric acid. I happen to have a 5 pound bag of citric acid from my mozzarella cheesemaking, so I use that. If you don’t have citric acid, you can order it here, or use lemon juice.
Once peaches are ready, pop the sheets into the freezer and freeze until solid. Pull the sheets out and use a flexible spatula to loosen the fruit from the sheet.
Break into small pieces, and place into Ziploc bags. Return to the freezer.
You can pull the fruit out to use in smoothies, turn into jam, or use in baked goods such as muffins, cakes, or pies. I have also been using them to make syrup and use in fruit-flavored drinks such as lemonade or tea (another post on that coming soon!)
Take advantage of the season’s bounty and freeze some fruit!
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