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Friday, May 31, 2013

Freezer Tips (Fruit)

Packing Fruit For Freezer Storage:
The intended use of the frozen fruit determines the type of pack, whether it be dry, sugar or syrup pack.
  • Dry Pack: No sugar is added. This method is for those fruits which can be frozen without any preparation other than washing, draining, discarding imperfect ones and packing (e.g. blueberries, cranberries, currants, gooseberries, rhubarb). Tip: Many fruits and berries can be frozen on trays first before packaging for freezing. Place prepared fruit on a cookie sheet and freeze until solid. Once frozen, transfer to containers or bags then store in freezer.
  • Sugar Pack: Dry sugar is added. Sprinkle sugar over the fruit, mix gently then allow fruit to stand for approximately 15 minutes (this draws out the juice and dissolves the sugar). It’s also fine to freeze immediately after sugar is added to fruit. Generally, 1/2 to 2/3 cups of sugar per quart of fruit is sufficient. Fruit pieces can also be frozen on trays first before packaging (sprinkle with sugar before freezing).
  • Syrup Pack: Sugar and water are boiled to make a syrup, which is cooled and added to the fruit. Choose a syrup with a strength best suited to tartness of the fruit (syrup recipe chart is below). Slice or cut fruits directly into container. Leave berries whole, if desired. Add just enough syrup to cover fruit: Approximately 1/3 to 1/2 cup of syrup is needed for 1 1/2 cups of sliced fruit or berries; Approximately 3/4 to 1 cup of syrup is needed for halved fruit. Be sure that the syrup covers fruit completely and that headspace is left for expansion.
Quick Tips:

  • Peeling Fruit: You may wish to peel fruit before freezing, an easy way to do that is to bring water to a boil then submerge the fruit in the water for about 45 seconds. Remove fruit and plunge into a sink full of ice cold water. Skins will come right off!
  • Overripe Fruit: Try freezing these as purees, they can be used as dessert toppings and in other tasty ways. Fill icecube trays with puree then freeze. Once frozen, pop them out, put them in a freezer bag and store in the freezer. Take out a cube of fruit puree as needed.
Note: Sugar helps fruit keep its flavor, color and shape, but it is not necessary to prevent spoilage. The amount of sugar or syrup to use depends on the sweetness of the fruit and on individual taste.
Fresh Blueberries In Colander

Packaging Tips:

  • Use only moisture and vapor proof freezer containers or bags to prevent freezer burn and loss of flavor. Use containers when freezing fruits in syrup, freezer bags are great for dry or sugar pack.
  • Account for food expansion, leave 1/2″ per pint or 1″ per quart headspace in containers when packing fruits in syrup. If the containers you are using have a narrow top, you’ll need to increase the headspace to accommodate.
  • When using freezer bags, squeeze as much air as possible from the bags before sealing.
  • To keep fruit pieces submerged in the syrup (if they float above it they will likely darken), crumple a piece of parchment paper, waxed paper or foil and place on top of fruit before sealing container.
  • Make sure to label and date your packages before freezing. Another good idea is to mark the amount of sugar used so you’ll know the amount of sugar to adjust when using fruit in recipes.

How To Thaw

  • Put on open shelf of refrigerator. A one-pound package will thaw in about 6 hours.
  • Place package on kitchen counter. One pound will thaw in about three hours.
  • If the package is watertight, it can be thawed in running cold water in 40 minutes.
  • Watertight package of fruit can be thawed in running lukewarm water in about 20 minutes.
  • Use fruits immediately once thawed.
  • For best results, frozen fruits should be used within the year.

How To Use

Frozen fruits can be used as you would any sweetened fresh fruit, just as they come from the package–Jams, jellies and fruit pies turn out lovely when using frozen fruits. When using the fruit in recipes, remember to allow for the sugar added at time of freezing.
No matter how they are used, do not remove fruits from their cartons until ready to use them. All fruits keep their fresh-fruit flavor and color only a short time after opening and some fruits, such as peaches, darken quickly when exposed to the air.

Getting Ready To Freeze Berries

http://tipnut.com/freeze-fruit/

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