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Freezing Fruits

For the best in frozen fruits:

  1. Choose fruits of top quality to freeze.
  2. Wash fruit in cold running water.  If submerged in cold water, lift carefully from water. Drain thoroughly in wire basket. Do not let fruit stand in water.
  3. Use equipment of aluminum, earthenware, glass or stainless steel. Do not use galvanized ware, chipped enamelware or iron utensils.
  4. Fruit may be packed in syrup, dry sugar or unsweetened.
    • Syrup pack is generally best for fruits which will be served uncooked or as desserts;
    • Dry sugar pack or unsweetened for fruits to be cooked.
    • Unsweetened fruit may not yield as high a quality product, but may be necessary for special diets.
  5. Place prepared fruit in freezer containers. Headspace varies with style of container and pack used.
  6. Seal container securely, label and date.
  7. Freeze at 0ºF. Place packages in single layer until frozen.
  8. Store at 0ºF. Properly frozen fruit should retain high quality for 12 months.

Pack:

Syrup Pack- Select according to natural sweetness or tartness of fruit.  A 40 percent syrup is suitable for most fruits.  About 1/2 to 2/3 cup of syrup is needed for each pint package of fruit.

Syrups Sugar (Cups)           + Water (Cups)             = Yield (Cups)
10 percent 1/2 4 4 1/2
20 percent 1 4 4 3/4
30 percent 1 3/4 4 5
40 percent 2 3/4 4 5 1/3
50 percent 4 4 6

Dissolve sugar in warm water.  Cool syrup before using.  Pour over fruit in freezer container.  Hold fruit under syrup with crumbled pieces of laminated freezer (not foil) or parchment paper.

Sugar Pack - Cut fruit into shallow container. Sprinkle sugar over fruit. Mix gently with large spoon or turner until juice is drawn from fruit and sugar dissolved. Place fruit and juice in freezer container. Hold fruit under juice as above.

To Prevent Darkening:

Ascorbic acid - crystalline form. Dissolve in a little cold water. Add to cold syrup, sprinkle over fruit just before adding sugar (sugar pack), or sprinkle over fruit just before packing in containers (unsweetened pack).

Commercial anti-darkening mixtures - Use according to directions given on package.

Lemon juice - Not as effective as ascorbic acid. May mask natural fruit flavor or make fruit too sour.

Steam - Suitable for some fruits.

Headspace

 Liquid pack - Fruit in juice, syrup, sugar, or water crushed fruit or fruit juice

 Containers

Wide-top opening Narrow-top opening
Pint Quart Pint Quart
1/2 inch 1 inch 3/4 inch (juice-1-1/2 inches) 1-1/2 inches

Dry pack - No added sugar or liquid

Containers

Wide top opening Narrow top opening
Pint Quart Pint Quart
1/2 inch 1/2 inch 1/2 inch 1/2 inches

 

Fruit

Preparation and Pack

Anti-Darkening

Apples (Slices)  

Use crisp, firm, full-flavored fruit. Wash, peel, core and slice. Syrup--40 percent. Slice apples directly into cold syrup in freezer container. Start with 1/2 cup syrup in pint container. Sugar--After anti-darkening procedure, use 1/2 cup sugar per quart (1-1/4 pounds) apple slices. Unsweetened--Same as sugar pack above. Omit sugar.

 

1/2 teaspoon crystalline ascorbic acid per quart of syrup. To prevent darkening, slice apples in solution of 2 tablespoons salt per gallon water. Let stand not over 15 to 20 minutes and drain. To retard darkening, steam single layers of apple slices 1-1/2 to 2 minutes. Cool in cold water and drain. Unsweetened--Same as above.

 

Blueberries, Huckleberries (Whole)  

Select full-flavored, ripe berries of nearly same size with tender skins. Sort, wash and drain. To tenderize skins, if necessary--Steam 1 minute. Cool immediately. Syrup--40 percent. Pack fruit in freezer container. Cover with cold syrup. Unsweetened--Pack in freezer containers.

None necessary
Sour Cherries (Whole)  

Select bright red, tree-ripened fruit. Stem, sort, wash thoroughly, drain and pit. Syrup--60 percent. Pack in freezer containers. Cover with syrup. Sugar-3/4 cup sugar per quart (1-1/3 pounds) cherries. Pack fruit and juice in containers.

None necessary
Melons-Cantaloupes, Honeydew Watermelon, etc. (Slices, cubes or balls)  

Use firm, fleshed, well-colored, ripe melons. Cut in half, remove seeds and peel. Cut in slices, cubes or balls. Syrup--30 percent. Pack melon portions in freezer containers and cover with syrup.

None necessary
Peaches (Halves and slices)  

Choose firm, ripe fruit with no green color in skins. Sort, wash, pit and peel. Cut as desired. Syrup--40 percent. Put peaches directly into cold syrup in freezer containers. (Start with 1/2 cup syrup per pint container.) Sugar-2/3 cup sugar per quart (1-1/3 pounds) prepared fruit. Pack in containers. Water pack--(Quality--texture not as good as above two methods of pack) Pack prepared peaches in freezer containers. Cover with cold water containing ascorbic acid.

Syrup—1/2 teaspoon crystalline ascorbic acid per quart of syrup. Sugar—1/4 teaspoon crystalline ascorbic acid in 1/4 cup cold water per quart of fruit. Sprinkle over peaches before adding sugar. Water pack--1 teaspoon crystalline ascorbic acid per quart water.
Rhubarb (Stalks or pieces)  

Select firm, tender, well-colored stalks. Wash, trim, cut in 1- or 2-inch pieces or in lengths to fit freezer package. Heat rhubarb in boiling water 1 minute. Cool immediately in cold water (helps retain color and flavor). Syrup--40 percent. Pack raw or preheated (see above) pieces tightly in container. Cover with syrup. Unsweetened--Pack raw or preheated rhubarb tightly in containers without sugar.

None necessary
Strawberries (Whole)  

Select firm, ripe, red berries with slightly tart flavor (large berries are better sliced or crushed). Sort, wash and drain well. Remove hulls. Sugar and syrup packs yield better quality than unsweetened. Syrup--50 percent. Place berries in container and cover with syrup. Sugar--Use 3/4 cup sugar to 1 quart (1-1/3 pounds) strawberries. Place fruit and juice in containers. Unsweetened--Pack fruit in containers. For better color, cover with water containing crystalline ascorbic acid.

None necessary
(Sliced or crushed)  

Prepare as for whole strawberries. Slice or crush. Sugar--Use 3/4 cup sugar per quart (1-1/2 pounds) berries. Pack in containers.

Unsweetened--1 teaspoon ascorbic acid per quart water.

 

Prepared by:  Sue Snider, Ph.D.

Professor/Food and Nutrition Specialist

Rev. 7/12



Original Publication Date:

Cooperative Extension Education in Agriculture and Home Economics, University of Delaware, Delaware State University and the United States Department of Agriculture cooperating. Distributed in furtherance of Acts of Congress of May 8 and June 30, 1914. It is the policy of the Delaware Cooperative Extension System that no person shall be subjected to discrimination on the grounds of race, color, sex, disability, age, or national origin.

Disclaimer: Reference to commercial products or trade names does not imply endorsement by University of Delaware Cooperative Extension or bias against those not mentioned.

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