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Over the past weeks I’ve been working diligently to preserve a pile of freshly picked fruit.  We’ve canned some, we’ve put some in the fridge for eating, and we’ve made jelly and apple sauce.  Finally, we have also frozen some.  I thought I would mention this because if you are frightened to begin canning, or don’t have the equipment or time, freezing is another great option to preserve the goodness and abundance of the summer’s harvest.

Lots of fruits can be frozen.  There are several different ways to freeze so that you can ensure the fruit is just as you need it for later.  First, I’ve frozen fruits like peaches and apples lately in quart sized bags with enough peeled and chopped fruit for cobblers, pies, and crisps.  It is the simplest, just peel and chop into pieces that you want to see in your dessert and throw them straight into the freezer bag.  Then label your bag with the contents and the date and pop it straight into the freezer.  This is a great method for freshly picked fruit but works well for store-bought too.  If you’ve got produce going bad and you can’t use it fast enough, freeze it for later!  Whole berries like blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries can be washed and thrown straight in the freezer bag for freezing as well.  Frozen blueberries make great smoothies and are terrific defrosted and thrown into muffins, pancakes, or waffles.

Strawberries can also be frozen in the above method if you intend on using the fruit as a cobbler.  If you want your strawberries to remain in whole berries you can flash freeze them.  To flash freeze you wash the berries and then spread them out where they are not touching on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper.  Put the whole baking sheet in the freezer and leave for a few hours, until they are firm and frozen solid.  Then, peel them up and toss them in a freezer bag.  Bananas are also terrific if you flash freeze them.  Just cut them into slices, spread them out and follow the above method.   Bananas frozen this way are terrific in smoothies or dipped into chocolate and frozen this way.

Bananas can also be peeled and left whole.  Just toss the whole banana into a freezer bag.  Bananas frozen this way are great for muffins, pancakes, waffles, or quick bread such as banana nut bread.

There are lots of great ways to preserve fruit.  The main thing is that you think about how you will most likely use the produce and freeze it using a method that is conducive (and easiest) for what you intend to use it for.  You’ll be saving money and ensuring that you have the ability to enjoy a little bit of summer later on when the winter months are dark and dreary.

Freezing fruit – strawberries, bananas, peaches, apples