Category: Fruit

Fruit

Can You Freeze Dates?

Can you freeze dates? If you do see dates at a reasonable price in the supermarket, it is usually a good idea to buy as much as you can and freeze them until you can use them.

Various methods of storage may be used depending on the type of date, including freezing them or simply storing them in a cupboard.The popularity of certain varieties of dates such as Medjool dates means that they are rarely available in stores and can be expensive since they are in such high demand.

The popularity of certain varieties of dates such as Medjool dates means that they are rarely available in stores and can be expensive since they are in such high demand.

Dates

Image used under Creative Commons from Itinerant Tightwad

Aside from their scarcity, another reason for the high cost is the fact that Medjool dates are picked by hand, not in large clusters. It is necessary to pick them individually by hand because of their delicate texture. The cost of dates also depends on their grade, which ranges from choice (the least expensive) to jumbo (the largest and most expensive).

If stored properly, dates can last for a very long time. Harder, drier varieties can be stored in an airtight container without refrigeration in an area that is both dark and cool. They can last for several weeks in those conditions. The airtight container is necessary because dates can easily absorb odors from other foods.

Medjool dates and other softer varieties can be stored in an airtight container with no refrigeration for up to a week; however, you will need to refrigerate them if you need to store them for longer. If they are not refrigerated they can dry out or may start fermenting. Dried out Medjool dates can be unpleasantly chewy. Below is a step-by-step guide on how can you freeze dates:

Image used under Creative Commons from sunny mama

How to Freeze Dates?

Dates have a very high sugar content (50-70 percent by weight), which means that they can handle freezing very well; in fact, some people believe that freezing actually improves their texture by making it even softer and even “creamy.”

Freezing Dried Dates

In order to freeze dates, place them in an airtight container and place the container in the freezer. Dates can last as long as five years if they are kept frozen. Note that sugar crystals can appear on or beneath the skin of the dates if they have been frozen for a while but will not affect their taste.

Freezing Date Paste

Date paste is another way for you to use your dates. You can also freeze the date paste for later use if you prefer. Date paste is an excellent substitute for refined sugar and it is also gluten-free.You make it by removing the pits, soaking the dates for a few hours and then pureeing them in a food processor or blender.

Date paste allows you to save a relatively large quantity of dates without taking up much freezer space. You can simply store the paste flat in a zip lock bag and break off pieces as you need them.

How to Defrost Frozen Dates?

To thaw your frozen dates, place them in a microwave and defrost for 30 seconds. Do not subject dates to high heat as there is the potential for the sugar crystals to caramelize and affect their flavor.

Summary

Dates are among the oldest cultivated fruits in the world with the fruits being eaten as far back in history as 4000 BC. There are hundreds of date varieties including Medjool, Khadrawy and Deglet Noor.

Many of these date varieties were brought to the United States in the late 19th century and have been grown here ever since. As a dessert fruit, the date thrives in the dry climes of California and Arizona.

It’s great to know that you can always freeze and thaw dates whenever. Now that you know how can you freeze dates, go ahead and hoard your favorite fruit and keep the rest for later! You’ll save more money by buying in bulk, plus, you have a steady supply of dates.

Fruit

Can You Freeze Oranges?

Can you freeze oranges? Regardless of your reason for buying in bulk, an easy way to preserve oranges for use later is by freezing them.

Oranges are not always in season, so when they are available, you may want to buy a few extras to eat later. It also makes good sense to buy extra oranges whenever you visit an area where they are grown because you can find fruit that is fresher and tastier.

You might also want to stockpile oranges if you find them on sale or live some distance from the grocery store.

Many people are surprised to discover they can actually freeze oranges for use later. While freezing oranges will preserve them, the texture will nonetheless be affected. As such, frozen oranges should only be used in smoothies, sherbet or juices.

How to Freeze Oranges?

Below is a general guideline on how to prepare the oranges for freezing:

Preparing the Oranges

To prepare oranges for freezing, wash them lightly under cold running water and then pat them dry with paper towels. Do not use any soap or chemical-based cleaners, as this will leave a residue behind that could affect the taste and texture of your oranges.

After washing, slice your oranges into circular rounds, or remove the outer peeling and separate into sections. Circular slices are ideal for garnishes. Peeled sections are preferred if you plan to use your frozen oranges to create other dishes with.

Sterilizing The Containers

Next, thoroughly wash canning jars or plastic food storage containers in hot soapy water to ensure they are clean. If you are using canning jars, you should also boil the lids for approximately five minutes as well.

can you freeze oranges

Image used under Creative Commons from free photos

Below are the two common techniques on preserving oranges prior to freezing:

Dry Pack Method

The dry pack method involves placing orange slices or sections as tightly as you can. This prevents air from getting into them, thereby preserving as much of their taste as possible.

Continue stuffing oranges into the container until you are approximately 1/4 to 1/2 inch from the top. This allows room for the oranges to expand as they freeze. After filling your containers, place the appropriate lid on them, and then mark the date and contents on the top with a marker.

Syrup Packing

Oranges can also be frozen in syrup, and doing so allows them to retain more of their texture and flavor. This step does take a bit longer, as it requires you to make a syrup ahead of time and allow it to cool in the refrigerator. That way, when you pour it over top of your oranges, it will speed the freezing process.

To prepare syrup, boil a mixture of two parts sugar and three parts water together, and then place in the refrigerator for at least four hours.

When you are ready to freeze your oranges, place sections loosely inside your canning jars. Pour syrup over top of the oranges until they are completely covered, leaving a space of around ¾ inch at the top to allow both the syrup and the oranges to expand.

Place lids on your jars and tighten them down as much as possible by hand. Mark the lid with “oranges” and the date they were packed.
Oranges

Image used under Creative Commons from José Luis Sánchez Mesa

How to Defrost Frozen Oranges?

To thaw frozen oranges, simply remove them from the freezer and allow them to defrost at room temperature for four to six hours. If you have packed your oranges in syrup, you should drain and rinse them before using them for other purposes.

Thawed oranges should be used as soon as possible in order to get the most enjoyment out of their flavor. Ideally, oranges that have previously been frozen should be consumed within three to four days. Freezing oranges will allow you to enjoy them for up to six months after purchase.

Summary

The next time you come across a great deal on oranges, don’t pass it up. Buy a few extras and freeze them using one of the above methods to ensure you are able to enjoy this delicious fruit when it might not otherwise be available.

Fruit

Can You Freeze Blackberries?

Can you freeze blackberries? As summer ends and fall begins blackberries are ready for harvesting. Thankfully, you can harvest bountiful amounts and freeze them to preserve the fresh berry flavor and plump juicy texture they retain so we can enjoy them throughout the year when ever we desire too.

Frozen blackberries defrost easily and are outstanding for making jams, jellies, pies, muffins, breads, cookies, frosting, cakes or whatever it is, you heart desires to do with them.

Best of all frozen blackberries that were harvested in late summer and defrosted in the middle of winter helps give us a taste of sunshine when the winter blues are plaguing us.

How to Freeze Blackberries?

There are a few ways you can freeze blackberries to help retain their freshness. Let’s take a look at the step by step guide on how can you freeze blackberries:

Freezing Fresh Blackberries

The best thing about blackberries is you can harvest them straight from the vine, remove the stems and leaves from the berries, toss the berries into freezer bags and place them into the freezer to store until you are ready to use them up.

Freezing this way will ensure the berries retain their juicy plump texture and flavor and keep them preserved for up to two years this way.However, after about two years of the blackberries being

However, after about two years of the blackberries being frozen, they can lose some of their flavor and freshness. Frozen blackberries always taste best when they are eaten within the first year.

Blackberries

Image used under Creative Commons from Jeffrey Beall

Freezing Rinsed Blackberries

If you harvest blackberries and feel better with rinsing the berries before freezing them, it is best to quickly rinse them with cool water and place them directly onto sheets of paper towel after to help rid some of the extra water. If you do not, the berries will all clump together and be hard to use up.

Once you have dried off the extra water from berries, it is best to lay them out onto a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and toss them into the freezer to freeze. When the berries freeze, which takes about an hour, you can place the frozen berries into freezer bags and containers and freeze them for up to a year this way.

Again, after about a year, the berries will lose some of their juicy berry flavor and texture and can darken in color.

Freezing Sweetened Blackberries

To give blackberries a sweet flavor before freezing them so they will be sweeter in flavor when they defrost, simply harvest your blackberries, remove any stems and leaves, toss them into freezer containers and sprinkle some sugar over the top of them.

Next, place lids on the containers and gently give it a shake to combine the sugar and berries together well. After, freeze the berries and use them up within a year so they still have their sweet juicy flavor. However, freezing sweetened blackberries will cause them to be juicer and mushier in texture during the defrosting process.

How to Defrost Frozen Blackberries?

To defrost blackberries in raw form and rinsed form, simply take them from the freezer and place them into a berry bowl that has a paper towel lying underneath to catch any juices.

Berries take about 20 to 30-minutes to defrost. Once defrost you can eat them as is, toss them into yogurt or cereal or bake or cook with them the way you desire.

Handful of blackberries

Image used under Creative Commons from Jeremy Jenum

If you are defrosting blackberries in sweetened form, simply remove the container from them from the freezer and allow them to defrost in the container for 30-minutes on the container top. Then, you can eat the sweeten berries as is or any other way you choose.

Summary

It’s always a great idea to store a bountiful harvest of blackberries in the freezer for future desserts and jams! Now that you know how can you freeze blackberries, there’s no need to worry about what to do with these berries that have a notoriously short shelf life.

 

Fruit

Can You Freeze Mango?

If you have ever considered freezing mango and didn’t know if it was a good idea and if so then how to do it, this article is for you. Read along!

Let’s talk about mango. This delicious fruit has become more popular in recent years due to its rich tropical flavor and availability. Living in tropical climates, you have more accessibility to fresh mango at local grocers and fruit stands. For those of you vacationing, in the land of mango, you’ll get caught up having this delicious fruit added to all your meals and will want to take it home with you.

This scenario could happen to you- you’ve arrived home from your tropical vacation and remembered that you’ve brought home or had shipped home a bushel of mango or maybe there was a big sale on mango at your neighborhood market. You can’t eat them all before they go bad, so can you freeze mango for later?

The answer is, “YES,” you can freeze mango and it gives you so many options for future uses. Don’t worry, mango’s freeze really good, hold their texture well and taste just as great. Here’s how to get started on preparing your mango’s for freezing.

How to Freeze Mango?

Make sure that your mangoes are ripe. Disregard the color, as there are so many varieties of mango. Squeeze gently to feel for ripeness, sort of like a peach. Peel the mango and cut the meat of the fruit into chunks or strips.

Place serving or snack sizes into freezer bags or freezer safe containers to store in your freezer for up to six months. Mix your mango chunks with other fruits like blueberries, strawberries or peaches in freezer bags for future use in smoothies.

Use clean and sterilized plastic ice trays to fill with mashed mango to make mango ice cubes. These cubes can also be used as individual servings of baby food-just pop one out at a time to defrost for your baby’s fruit at meal time.

can you freeze mango

Image used under Creative Commons from Joy

How to Defrost Frozen Mango?

Well, you’ve got a freezer full of frozen mango, now what?

Thawing Frozen Mango

Transfer one frozen bag at a time to your refrigerator. This bag will be good for consumption for about a week.Add this slightly chilled fruit to your morning cereal or make a fantastic breakfast smoothie.

Using Thawed Mango

Add the slightly chilled mango to your morning cereal or make a fantastic breakfast smoothie.

Place a serving of frozen mango in your lunch box for a tropical treat at lunch. Take a bag of frozen mango chunks to the pool for a healthy snack that will cool you off.

Use frozen chunks of mango to make frozen cocktails, like a daiquiri, instead of ice. It keeps the flavor of your drink from getting watered down as with melting ice.

Pop a frozen chunk or strip in your ice tea for a truly refreshing drink. Give still slightly frozen mango strips to your older baby to soothe their teething gums.

Those of you who are handy in the kitchen will love the versatility of being able to freeze mango to use when your recipes call for it.

Mango salsa is delicious on seafood. Grab your frozen mango out of the freezer, let thaw a few hours and then prepare mango salsa for your evening meal, or even better, make a huge batch to share with friends.

Mash the mango up and store in the refrigerator a couple of days or back in the freezer to serve to your baby. No additives, just pure fruit.

Instead of a boring old peach bellini’s, surprise your guests with mango bellinis. Add mango to your everyday salad to give it a tropical twist.

Serving fruit kabobs at your pool party is made easier with using your frozen mango skewered with a couple of other frozen fruits. These can be done ahead, stored in your refrigerator for a couple of hours and are ready to be enjoyed when served-still cool and crisp.

Summary

Freezing fresh mangoes for later is so easy. Now that you know how can you freeze mango, you can never have too much of this tropical fruit! Freezing works great fresh and you can freeze it to enjoy later when the occasion calls for it.

Fruit

Can You Freeze Raspberries?

Can you freeze raspberries? Many people freeze raspberries every year. As soon as early summer begins, the raspberries begin to grow and they are soon ready for harvesting shortly after.

Every year, many people go to U-pick farms or pick from their own bushes to collect tons of fresh red raspberries to have on hand for the colder months ahead.

Most of the raspberries picked are used to create jellies, jams, pies and sauces. If the berries are not being used for these purposes, they are frozen to preserve their freshness until needed to make delightful tasting dishes.

However, many people freeze raspberries the wrong way, which makes the berries more difficult to use or causes them to spoil during the freezing process.
Raspberries

Image used under Creative Commons from www.bluewaikiki.com

You can extend the freshness of the raspberries by freezing them at the peak of freshness. Below is a step by step guide on how can you freeze raspberries:

How to Freeze Raspberries?

Raspberries should be frozen immediately after picking them off the bush. This helps retain the berries bright reddish pink color and plump juicy texture. However, you should never rinse red raspberries down before freezing because this will cause the raspberries to lose some of their flavor and coloring.

Sometimes it can cause the berries to become frostbit during the freezing processes. Instead, the berries should be laid out on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and tossed into the freezer to freeze for about an hour.

After, you can remove the berries from the cookie sheet, place them into freezer bags, and pop them back into the freezer again. Using this freezing method will help prevent the berries from sticking together and will help retain their beautiful bright red color and sweet-tart berry flavor.

Do note that freezing raspberries will change the texture of them and cause them to become slightly mushier than they are typically after picking, but they will still have some plumpness.Although, after a day or two, after the defrosting process they will begin to mush a bit more.

With that being said, frozen raspberries are excellent for making smoothies, jellies, jams, pies and raspberry muffins. Frozen raspberries also make delightful sauces to pour over sweet dishes such as ice cream or in marinades to create a light berry flavored dish.

How to Defrost Frozen Raspberries?

The proper way to defrost raspberries is by taking them from the freezer and pouring them into a straining berry bowl. Then place a piece of paper towel under the bowl and place the berries in the refrigerator to defrost safely.Defrosting should only take between

Defrosting should only take between an hour or two. If you are just tossing your berries into a pot to make jellies, jams or sauces or into baked goods to create a tasty dish you do not even have to bother with the defrosting process.

Frozen raspberries

Image used under Creative Commons from epSos .de

Summary

Freezing and thawing raspberries are so easy! But there are certain factors you need to keep in mind to ensure minimal taste and flavor changes.  Always freeze red raspberries after picking to maintain their juicy flavor and plumpness. Also, never rinse the berries prior to freezing so frost won’t set in and ruin the texture of the fruits.

Now that you know how can you freeze raspberries, don’t be afraid to store the berries in the freezer whenever harvest time rolls in!

 

Fruit

Can you Freeze Watermelon?

I you’ve ever wondered “hmm, can you freeze watermelon?“, you’re in the right place to find the answer. Watermelons, similarly to other fruit, once cut, won’t stay fresh in the fridge for a long time. That’s why people think about freezing watermelons, so they can use them a couple of weeks or even months later. That’s also the case if one would like to use this fruit when watermelon is not in season. Is that even possible and does it really make sense to freeze watermelon? Read on if you would like to know answers to those questions.

Freezing watermelon – important information

The first thing you need to know is that watermelon can be frozen, but it will become mushy when thawed. If you’ll decide to freeze this fruit, you need to be aware of that.

Is this a reason one should not freeze watermelons? It depends. If you would like to freeze it and thaw a couple of weeks down the road to eat it raw, it’s not a good idea. You won’t be satisfied with the texture of thawed watermelon. But, if you would like to use it as an ingredient in a prepared dish or drink (smoothie, sorbet), freezing isn’t a bad idea. Like many fruit, freezing and thawing changes the texture of watermelon, but it can be successfully used in a prepared dish or drink.

Slices of Watermelon

(credit: Pink Sherbet Photography)

How to freeze watermelon

Freezing a watermelon requires some work. First off, you need to cut off the rind. Just to let you know, freezing a whole watermelon isn’t a good idea, believe me. Besides, it would take like half of your freezer. Next thing to do is to cut the watermelon into pieces. The size is up to you – some people tend to cut it into dice, others prefer thin slices. Now it’s time for the not-so-fun activity – removing the seeds. If you plan to get the frozen watermelon out of the freezer and add it right to a sorbet recipe, make sure you remove all of them. Please note that it’s easier to remove seeds from a sliced watermelon than from one cut in cubes or balls.

Ok, you’ve got a cut watermelon without the rind and seeds. Not it’s time for freezing it. Take a baking sheet and place the slices or cubes on it. Consider lining the baking sheet with parchment paper beforehand. Now put the baking sheet into the freezer for a few hours, so the pieces of watermelon will freeze. Once done, take the baking sheet out of the freezer and transfer frozen pieces into a freezer bag. Remove all air from the bag, seal it tightly and put the bag back into the freezer. Don’t forget to label it before doing that. Now you can keep it in the freezer for at least a couple of months. Don’t freeze watermelon for more than 10-12 months due to quality reasons.

Summary
As you should know by now, freezing and thawing a watermelon changes its texture. Because of that, frozen and thawed watermelon works best only in prepared dishes and drinks. If you would like to enjoy a piece of fresh watermelon when it’s not in season, not much you can do. Freezing for that purpose won’t give you the taste you’re looking for.

Fruit

Can you Freeze Cucumbers?

Can you freeze cucumbers? Most of the people would answer no to this question, but that’s not entirely true. There are a few ways to freeze cucumbers, but you need to know that they require work (some of them quite a lot). And you won’t necessarily be happy with the results you’ll get. Truth be told, cucumbers consist mostly of water and should be enjoyed fresh (as most other veggies).

Freezing Cucumbers

A whole cucumber definitely won’t freeze well, but like other veggies, there are other options. Basically, there are two possibilities. The first one is to slice the cucumber and preserve it in brine or vinegar. The other one is to use those cucumbers in a recipe that allows to freeze the dish once it’s ready. Of course none of the options guarantees that the results will be satisfactory

Salad with cucumber

(credit: Laurel Fan)

Freezing Cucumbers in Brine

Start off by washing and peeling the cucumbers. Once done, you should slice them thinly (you can use a food processor if you wish). Not it’s time to prepare the brine. Here’s a recipe from ThirtyFun.com:

In a large bowl, mix 2 quarts of cucumbers with chopped onions and 2 tablespoons of salt. Let stand for 2 hours. Rinse well with cold water, drain and return to clean bowl. Add 2/3 cup of oil, 2/3 cup vinegar, 2/3 cup of sugar, and 1 teaspoon of celery seed. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Once you got the brine ready, transfer sliced cucumbers into plastic containers or glass jars and cover them with brine. Please remember to leave some headspace, because the contents of the jar or container will expand. Close those jars or containers tightly and put into the freezer and keep it there at least a week before defreezing. Thaw in refrigerator.

For more pieces of information about this way of freezing cucumbers, visit ThirtyFun.com. As you can see, it definitely takes time and hassle to do that, so you need to be sure it’s worth spending the time and money on freezing cucumbers this way. If you’ll decide to try it, try freezing only a small amount for the first time to find out if you’re satisfied with the results.

Freezer pickles

There are quite a few freezer pickles recipes on the Internet, so I will link only a few. Using cucumbers in freezer pickles is probably the best way to freeze cucumbers and thus extend their shelf life.

Recipes:
Crisp Cucumber Freezer Pickles
Freezer Cucumber Pickles Recipe
SWEET FREEZER PICKLES

Summary
There are at least a few ways to freeze cucumbers. They all require work and don’t guarantee you’ll be satisfied with the results you get. If you wish, you might experiment with freezing cucumbers, but they are definitely better when eaten fresh.

Fruit

Can You Freeze Avocados?

Can you freeze avocados? Since avocados are fine for only a couple of days once they’re ripe, it might happen that you have to many on hand. Is there anything you can do with the avocados, so you’ll be able to eat them at a later date?

As a matter of fact, there is – you can freeze avocados. You can store frozen avocados in the freezer for at least a couple of months, so that should solve the problem. Read along to learn how to freeze avocados.

Freezing Avocados

No matter how you’d like to freeze your avocados, the first thing you should do is to wash the outside of every avocado you have under running water. Once that’s done, you have a few possibilities that will be described below. When it comes to thawing, most people choose to thaw avocado in the fridge.

The Recommended Way: Freeze Pureed Avocados

To get the best results, it’s recommended to freeze pureed avocados. To do that, after washing the avocados you should cut them, peel and transfer into a food processor. Then it’s time to add some lemon or lime juice, preferably half tablespoon of juice for each avocado. Lemon and lime juices are very acidic, which will prevent avocado from turning brown.

Avocado cut in halves

Image used under Creative Commons from HarmonyRae

After adding the juice, puree the avocados until smooth. It’s pretty important to do it using a food processor or a blender, so you’ll be sure the juice is distributed fairly even. Now the only thing you need to do is to transfer the mush into an airtight container. Make sure you leave some headspace. Close it tightly, label it and put into the freezer. It’s recommended not to freeze it for more than half a year so it’ll remain at its best quality.

Freezing Pureed Avocados Using an Ice-cube Tray

This way is similar to the recommended way. Once the avocados and the juice are pureed, pour the mush into an ice-cube tray and put it into the freezer. Once frozen, take the tray out and transfer the cubes into a freezer bag. This way you’ll be able to easily thaw only a small amount of avocado. It’s probably the best way to freeze it if you need avocado to prepare meals for a child.

Freezing Chunked or Halved Avocados

Once you’ve washed the avocados, peel them and cut each one in half or slice into chunks, depending on your needs. Now spray them with lime or lemon juice. If you’ll omit this step, chances are avocados will turn brown due to freezing. If you plan to use them in a smoothie or guacamole, I believe it doesn’t really matter if they’re brown or not, so you can omit this step if that’s the case.

Now it’s time to put them on a baking sheet (make sure they don’t touch one another) and put into the freezer for a couple of hours. Once they are frozen, you can transfer them into a ziplock bag, label it and put back into the freezer. This way you’ll be able to easily scoop only one or two chunks (or halves), depending on how much you need at a time. You can omit fast freezing using the cookie sheet, but the chunks be clumpy and you’ll have to unfreeze the whole package (or at least a few chunks) at once.

Freezing Whole Avocados

Most people say that whole avocados don’t freeze well, but few people do it and it seems to work for them well. If you’re not sure if it’ll work out for your needs, do a test run. Freeze an avocado for a week or two, thaw it and decide whether its quality is good enough for your needs. When thawing, you don’t need to wait until the whole avocado is completely defrosted, you can cut it in half and pull the chunks with a spoon.

Summary
As you can see, you can freeze avocados to store them for a prolonged period of time. So, the next time you’ll notice a great deal on avocados, don’t hesitate – buy as many as you really want. You can use some of them in the next couple of days and freeze the rest for later use. You can also make guacamole and freeze it instead.

Fruit

Can You Freeze Tomatoes?

Can you freeze tomatoes?  Tomatoes are grown around the world and widely used in various ways. You can consume raw or processed tomatoes. But is there a way to preserve tomatoes for an extended period of time and avoid spoilage? Cay you buy them in bulk (or cultivate and harvest on your own) and save for the winter? Fortunately enough – you can. You can freeze tomatoes, but you need to know that thawed tomatoes won’t work great in every recipe. Freezing and thawing has an effect on this fruit. Let’s discuss this matter in details.

 

Freezing tomatoes

Tomato, similarly to other vegetables (tomato is botanically a fruit, but it’s considered a vegetable for culinary purposes [1], becomes mushy after thawing. Because of that, you should use it only in cooked dishes like soups, stews or sauces. Using thawed tomatoes for raw dishes won’t work well, bear that in mind.

 

Choose appropriate tomatoes and wash them

For freezing purposes choose only ripe, tender and blemish-free tomatoes. If you cultivate them yourself, you should freeze the tomatoes the same day you harvest them. Now it’s time to wash the tomatoes. You should wash them individually, under running water. Don’t use any detergents nor wash them in a sink filled with water. Once washed, rub them with paper towels.

 

Tomatoes
Image used under Creative Commons from Corey Burger

Blanching, chopping and peeling the tomatoes

When in comes to freezing tomatoes, there are tens of possible combinations. I’ll try to discuss here the most important possibilities that you have.

Blanching tomatoes is optional. Blanching suppresses some bacteria and enzymes that are responsible for spoilage, taste change and the vegetable becoming mushy. Therefore, blanched tomatoes should better tolerate the freezing process and be of good quality for a longer period of time. If you don’t want to peel the tomatoes and you plan to use them in next couple of months, you can omit blanching. Blanching is pretty easy – put the tomatoes into boiling water for a maximum of 2 minutes, then submerge them in cold water for a minute or two and dry them.

Peeling tomatoes is also optional. If you plan to blanch them, peeling is a great idea – you can easily slide off tomatoes’ skins after scooping them from cold water. If you don’t plan on blanching the tomatoes, you can peel raw tomatoes (it takes some time) or .. blanch them and then peel. If you won’t peel the tomatoes, you don’t have to worry. Once you need to use the tomato, run it (while still frozen) under warm water, its skin will go off easily.

Chopping the tomato is another field where you’ve got a whole bunch of options. You should start off by cutting out the tomato’s core. You can freeze the tomato whole, cut it in halves,  quarters, chop it, cut off its seeds or even puree it using a food processor. The choice is entirely up to you – consider how you plan to use the tomato in the future.

 

Pre freezing tomatoes

If you decided to freeze tomatoes whole, halved, quartered or with its seed cut, you might consider pre freezing them before putting them into the freezer for the long term. If you will do it, tomatoes won’t freeze into clumps and you’ll be able to easy scoop from the freezer as many tomatoes as you need at a time. In order to do that, you need to put the tomatoes on a cooking sheet or a tray, in a way that the pieces won’t touch each other. Then you should put this utensil into the freezer and leave it there until  the vegetables are frozen (time depends on the size of the tomatoes’ pieces). Once done, the vegetables are ready to be frozen for the long term.

 

Freeze the tomatoes for the long term.

You can choose whichever container seems appropriate for your needs. You can use freezer bags (a ziploc bag might be a good idea), or plastic containers. Just make sure the packaging is airtight. If you decide to freeze the vegetables in a freezer bag, push out any excessive air before sealing the bag and remember to leave some headspace. Choose containers or bags of suitable sizes – consider how you plan to use the tomatoes.

If you haven’t blanched the tomatoes, I suggest you should use them within a couple of months after freezing. If you’ve blanched them, they should be fine (of good quality) for about a year. In order to use them you can place them directly (frozen) into the dish you’re cooking or thaw them in their packaging in the fridge. Please remember that you must not refreeze once frozen and thawed tomatoes.

Summary

As you can see, you can freeze tomatoes. Frozen tomatoes work great in cooked dishes like soups or casseroles. They won’t work well in raw dishes.

Fruit

Can You Freeze Apples?

Can you freeze apples? Apples are one of the most widely known and cultivated fruits. You can get them in your local store all year round. So, you’ve bought a few pounds of apples and you realized that you won’t be able to use them before they’ll go bad. Freezing seems to be the best idea to preserve the apples for future use, but can you freeze apples? Fortunately for you, apples can be frozen. Actually, there are a few methods of freezing them. Let’s discuss them.

Apples everywhere

Image used under Creative Commons from msr

Freezing Apples

Freezing changes the texture of apples, so in most cases they aren’t well suited for eating them raw. Use them rather in some baked dishes such as baked apples or pies. The most popular method of freezing apples is freezing sliced apples. Sliced apples tend to brown when frozen and thawed. To prevent that from happening, you can do a couple of things before freezing them:

  • dip sliced apples in lemon juice solution
  • dip sliced apples in salt water solution (2 tablespoons of salt per 1 gallon of water)
  • steam sliced apples for about 2 minutes

Each of the mentioned methods stops the enzyme that causes browning.

Freezing Sliced Apples

First, you need to peel, core and slice apples to desirable sizes. After that, if you want to prevent them from browning, you should take the steps of one of the mentioned methods. Now you need to put your sliced apples on a cooking sheet in a way that they won’t touch one another. Then put the cooking sheet into the freezer. Once the slices are solid take the cooking sheet from the freezer and transfer the slices into a zipper storage bag and put it back into the freezer. You can keep it there (and retain good quality) for a year.

Pre-freezing sliced apples prevents them from sticking together so you can easily thaw as many slices as you need at a time. If you plan to freeze them for a long time, you should double-wrap them, to prevent freezer burn.

Freezing Sliced Apples in Syrup

If you’d like to use frozen apples for some uncooked dishes like fruit cocktails, this method of freezing them is best for your needs. So, you need to peel, core and slide apples to desirable sizes. You’ll be putting the slices directly into syrup in a container, so now it’s time to make the syrup. Use a 40 (2 cups syrup per 3 cups water) to 50 (1 cup syrup per 1 cup water) percent syrup. To prevent apples from browning add half a teaspoon of ascorbic acid per each quart of syrup. Now pour some of the prepared solution into the container and add sliced apples directly into the prepared syrup.

Once you’ve put all fruit into the container, push them down and add some syrup to cover them. Please remember to leave some headspace in the container – water expands while freezing. Now a little trick to hold slices under the syrup. Take a piece of water-resistant paper, crumple it and place it on top of the container. That will do the trick. Now you just need to seal the container and put it into the freezer. You can keep it there in good quality for about a year.

Freezing Whole Apples

Wash the apples, dry them, then put on a tray and pre-freeze them (similarly as in the previous method). Once they are frozen, put them into a freezer bag or zipper storage bag and put them into the freezer. You can keep them there (and retain good quality) for about a year.

Most popular uses of frozen apples include:

  • apple butter
  • pies, cakes, other baked goods
  • apple sauce
  • baked apples

Summary
As you can see, you can freeze apples. You can freeze whole apples, but freezing them sliced is a better idea. If you’d like to use thawed apples in uncooked dishes, the best way for you is to freeze them in syrup. If you plan to use defrosted apples for baking purposes, you can freeze them without the syrup.