Frozen fruits and berries are the best way to provide yourself with vitamins throughout the winter. Cold is a natural preservative. Frozen fruits and berries retain their benefits as much as possible. And in frozen currants, for example, there are several times more vitamin C than in fresh currants!
You can freeze anything you want. Usually, there are strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, mulberries, currants, sea buckthorn, and even watermelon. Among fruits, apricots, plums, pears, peaches, and grapes.
This article will show you how to frozen fruit and berries to preserve their maximum usefulness.
Careful selection of berries for freezing
The first thing to do for freezing is to choose berries. When freezing, choose ripely, but not overripe, fruits. Pick or buy unripe berries that can also be frozen. They do not ripen late in the sun, unlike some fruits. Do not freeze damaged fruit. Choose berries that are rich in color.
When you buy it, please pay attention to the container. A wet spot on the inside indicates that the berries are overripe. If some berries happen to be spoiled, sort all the berries and discard the spoiled ones and only the soft ones to avoid further spread of mold.
Wash the berries properly before freezing
Wash the berries in very cold water. Place the strawberries in a strainer first and rinse them gently with cold water before tearing off the stems. If torn off before washing, the water will affect the taste and texture of the berries.
Do not rinse blackberries, raspberries, mulberries, currants, sea buckthorn, and blueberries under running water, as the pressure of the water will damage them. Instead, place the berries in a strainer and place them down into a container of cold water. Gently slide the strainer into the water and drain.
Dry the berries, wash them, and carefully arrange them in a single layer on a tray lined with paper towels. Wipe the top with another dry paper towel and let it dry naturally.
Make sure the package is airtight.
Freeze berries in containers (these are specifically labeled for freezing) or in reusable plastic zip-lock bags secured with snaps. To prevent berries from absorbing odors in the freezer, seal the berries.
Before sealing, try to get as much air out of the bag as possible. There is an easy way to do this: close the bag, leaving a small opening, insert a cocktail straw into it and suck as much air out of the bag as possible with your lips. Then instantly pull out the straw and close the bag so the air doesn’t have time to be sucked back in.
Make a batch of frozen frosting
To avoid drumming on frozen berry clusters and catching crumbs in the kitchen, it should be taken to freeze the berries in batches.
Sign all frozen food containers
To find the food you need quickly and to not overstay your welcome, sign all containers of frozen fruit. You should include the name of the berries, the date they were frozen, and the weight. If you have a kitchen scale, it’s handy. If not, you can write down, for example, the number of cups.
Do not refreeze!
Berries and fruits must not be refrozen and thawed, in the process, they lose their vitamins. But most importantly – berries and fruits in the process of repeated freezing and thawing can spoil and lead to food poisoning.
The thawing process actively begins to harbor microorganisms that lead to spoilage. Unfortunately, the low temperature does not kill them but temporarily stops their vital activity. However, when thawing again, they start to multiply again vigorously, which is dangerous for health.
In addition, the water formed on thawed food can turn into large ice crystals that destroy the structure of the berries and ruin their appearance.
Maintaining shelf life
Frozen berries can be kept in the freezer for up to 12 months as long as the temperature does not exceed -54°F (18°C). If the temperature in the freezer is above -53°F (12°C), it is recommended that preserves not be kept longer than 4 months.
Another nuance – storing berries deep in the freezer, so the temperature often fluctuates when the freezer is opened on the door or closer to the edge. This can shorten the shelf life of the food. It is better to store things that are about to be used for cooking in these areas.
Quick freeze-thaw slowly.
Thaw gradually, preferably in the refrigerator, or at room temperature. Never use the microwave! Remember one rule when preparing vitamins for winter: freeze fast and thaw slowly.
Do not thaw berries while baking
Since berries lose their juiciness when thawed and some of the vitamins go into the juice, do not throw them away if possible. It is better not to completely thaw the berries for baking and put them into the dough immediately. To ensure that the juice of the berries does not spoil the baking result, it helps to mix them with a small amount of starch (2 tbsp per kg of berries).
Each product – its own way of freezing
You can freeze berries and fruits in different ways.
- In a mixture and separately.
- In the form of puree.
- Sliced or crushed.
- With or without sugar, syrup.
However, for different berries or harvesting purposes, different freezing methods are required. For example, strawberries and watermelons lose their flavor characteristics significantly when frozen and become less sweet. Peaches are frozen whole or partially, darkening in color and losing vitamin C. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to some subtleties when freezing these fruits.
Peaches can be frozen whole with the skin on, wrapped in paper, and placed in a sealed bag so that they do not smell bad. However, the characteristic of peaches is that they turn black when frozen, so they mostly come in the form of puree (with or without sugar) or syrup under the freeze.
If you want to keep the beauty and natural color of the peaches, peel them and put them in water acidified with lemon in a ratio of 1:1 for 10-15 minutes. This will not affect their taste, only their appearance. To remove peaches easily, you need to blanch them (soak them in boiling water) for 30 seconds and then quickly put them in cold water for a few seconds, then the skin will come off easily.
Even watermelon can be frozen, but it will completely lose its structure and will no longer be crisp. However, it can be used for desserts, smoothies, and used to cool drinks instead of ice cubes. To sweeten it, you may want to pour sugar over the slices (or melon balls, beaten with an ice cream scoop) at a rate of 350 grams of sweetened powder per kilogram of watermelon. Freezing watermelon in syrup (500 grams of sugar per liter of water) is also delicious.
Cherries can be frozen with or without seeds. If you want to cook preserves, jellies, jellies, desserts made of these fruits, freeze them with seeds. If you want to freeze pie cherries, remove the pits.
Sometimes bananas go bad at home. If their tops have started to turn black, you can still save these fruits. Peel them, cut them into chunks or rings about 1.2inch (3cm) wide, arrange them in a single layer on a parchment-lined plate, and freeze.
If you want to garnish your dishes with berries, freeze them with sugar, as they hold their color and texture better, while unsweetened frozen berries are better for adding to pies and other baked goods.
HOW TO MAKE FROZEN BERRIES WITH SUGAR SYRUP?
Mix 1 liter of cold water with 300 grams of sugar in a saucepan (400-500 grams of sugar can be taken for more acidic fruits), bring to a boil, and simmer for 3 minutes. Stirring constantly until the syrup cool down.
Place the berries in a container or plastic bag and pour in the syrup, leaving a gap of 0.4-0.8inch (1-2cm) at the top to avoid spillage when freezing. Use about one cup of syrup per kilogram of berries, or use so much syrup that the liquid completely covers the fruit or berries. Wipe the edges of the container well, cover tightly, and place them in the freezer.