Can You Freeze Nectarines?
Summertime and its bounty, what could be better? The warmer climate means getting to enjoy summer fruits, including nectarines. A nectarine is a type of stone fruit that’s similar to a peach. It is characterized by having a plum-like rind and sweet white or yellow flesh.
Also known as, “shaved peaches,” nectarines do not have fine fuzz all over their rind like regular peaches do. But unlike peaches, nectarines have twice the vitamin A content and more vitamin C than regular peaches.
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Can you freeze nectarines? Since the summer season brings an influx of summer fruits like nectarines, is it possible to freeze seasonal fruits to enjoy them all year round? The short answer is yes, you can freeze nectarines.
Stone fruits have a rather delicate flesh. Once it’s fully ripened, you have to consume the fruit quickly otherwise, rotting will set in. By freezing nectarines, you can stretch their shelf life and prevent waste! Apart from enjoying fresh nectarines, you can also freeze the fruit for baking and cooking. You can make jams, marmalades, smoothies, and other treats using this stone fruit.
When kept in the freezer, nectarines will keep fresh up to 3 to 4 months. Fully ripened nectarines will only keep fresh for 3 to 5 days in the fridge. Do not chill unripe nectarines in the fridge. The cold temps will stop the fruit from being fully ripe. Below is a step-by-step guide on how can you freeze nectarines:
Freezing nectarines – and other summer fruits – couldn’t be easier. If you have whole, ripened nectarines, you can freeze them as is, unwashed and uncut. To do this, simply get a large rigid plastic container and place the fruits inside. Close the lid, mark the container with the storage date and stick in the freezer.
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For freezing cut or sliced nectarines, you have to prep the fruits first: start by washing the fruit and removing the pit. Once pitted, you can either remove the peels or keep them on, it’s your choice.
Get a baking sheet and line it with parchment. Place the nectarine slices on it, making sure each slice is not touching the other. Do not layer or place the fruit slices on top of each other. Once the fruit slices are frozen, you won’t be able to separate the slices for storage!
Stick the baking sheet in the freezer and wait for 4 to 5 hours until the fruit slices are frozen solid. You can leave the cut fruits to freeze overnight but you have to re-pack them within a day or two to protect the nectarines from freezer burn.
Once the cut nectarines are frozen, transfer them carefully to a rigid plastic container or a resealable plastic bag. Label the package with the storage date, squeeze as much air as you could before sealing and then stick in the freezer.
If you want to preserved nectarines in syrup, refer to the prep steps above. Once the nectarines are washed and cut, set aside and chill in the fridge. Dissolve 3 cups of sugar in 4 cups lukewarm water to make heavy syrup. Add about half a teaspoon of ascorbic acid to prevent oxidation during freezing. Chill the syrup in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Once the syrup is nice and chilled, place the cut nectarines in a rigid plastic container with an airtight lid and pour the heavy syrup. Seal the container and label with the storage date. Stick in the freezer and you’re done.
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Usually, there is no need to defrost frozen nectarines, you could add the fruit directly in smoothies, jams, marmalades, etc. But if you want to defrost the fruit before consuming it, just transfer the container from the freezer to the fridge. Leave the fruit to thaw for a few hours and it’ll be ready to use!
Nectarines are best served in smoothies and sweet treats. Now that you know how can you freeze nectarines, you can store these quintessential summer fruits and enjoy them all year round!