There is nothing like biting into a fresh, sweet strawberry in the spring or a juicy slice of watermelon in the summer. Seasonal fresh fruit is not only delicious, but it’s also at its nutritional peak! The biggest risk of not eating all of this amazing fresh fruit in time, is spoilage. So, what can we do to prolong the life of these nutritious, delicious foods? Freeze them!
For centuries, people have frozen and canned seasonal produce so they can enjoy it all year long. These classic methods of food preservation lock-in the nutrition and the flavor of foods that aren’t eaten within the first few days of buying (or picking) them. Though canning involves several steps, freezing takes only a few, and you don’t need any special equipment to do it. Freezing is quick, convenient and super easy!
- Prepare your fruit as if you were about to eat it. Rinse off berries and grapes, or peel and slice (or cube) fruits like melons, mangos and bananas.
- Line a sheet pan/cookie sheet with parchment paper to keep foods from sticking.
- Place prepared fruit on the pan and place into freezer for at least 2 hours, or until fruit is completely frozen.
- Add frozen fruit to freezer bags or freezer safe containers. Remove as much air as possible before sealing to protect fruit from freezer burn. Label and date for reference.
Frozen fruit is safe to eat for about three months. Ice crystals and freezer burn can ruin the flavor and texture, so make sure you keep them towards the back of the freezer to avoid unintentional defrosting. Add frozen fruits to smoothies, pies, frozen pops or just out of the bag as a sweet snack!
Some fun facts about frozen fruit:
*In addition to drinking water, eating fruit is a tasty way to stay hydrated! The natural juice in fruits contributes to our total fluid intake for the day.
*The water content of bananas is over 70%, oranges and pineapples are over 85%, and strawberries, watermelon and cantaloupe are over 90% water!
*When spending time outdoors this summer, pack fresh or frozen fruits to snack on to help keep you energized and hydrated.
Check out our YouTube video on how safely and easily prepare frozen fruit at home!