General Freezing Instructions for Fruits:
Please be aware that fruits are 80% or more water. When frozen, the water expands, and the cell wall breaks, thus changing the texture. Upon thawing, the texture will be mushy. Keep this in mind when determining how to use the frozen product. We recommend Balls Blue Book as a thorough and accurate guide for preserving fruits and vegetables.
Strawberries, Blueberries, Blackberries, and Raspberries:
Wash and sort fruit.
Add sugar if desired.
Put fruit in freezer bags or containers.
Seal and place in freezer.
May be stored for up to one year at 0 degree F in the freezer.
Freezing with Sugar:
- Wash strawberries and drain in a colander.
- Remove stems and slice berries as you stem them.
- Sweeten: Mix 3/4 cup sugar to 4 cups sliced berries.
- Stir and let stand until sugar dissolves (just a few minutes), then put into freezer containers, leaving 1/2 inch head space for expansion.
- Put into freezer immediately.
- Berries can also be crushed, sweetened, and then frozen.
Freezing Whole for Garnish:
Wash large, select berries, and drain on a paper towel.
Place in freezer on a cookie sheet, only one layer at a time.
After they are frozen, place these berries in a freezer bag, and tie.
Place the bag back in the freezer.
Source: North American Strawberry Growers Association, 1983
Freeze cherries as soon as possible after picking to ensure a high quality product.
To freeze: Stem and sort cherries. Wash in cold water. Drain and pit.
Pack into containers in one of the following ways:
- With sugar: 3/4 cup sugar to 1 cup water; mix to dissolve.
- In syrup: Bring 5 cups sugar and 4 cups water to a rolling boil. Chill syrup before using to freeze cherries.
- Plain: Place in freezer quality plastic bags.
Frozen cherries may be stored for 12 months at 0 degree Fahrenheit.
Make a simple syrup of 1 3/4 cups sugar boiled with 4 cups water and 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Cool.
To get peels off easily, dip peaches in boiling water for 30 seconds, and then dip into ice water.
Peel peaches and cut into chunks.
Pour cooled syrup over cut peaches.
Put peaches and syrup into plastic containers, allowing about 1/2 inch of head space. Do not use glass because the expansion in the freezer will break the glass.
Press a crumbled piece of wax paper over the top layer of peaches to keep them from rising to the top of the container.
If using plastic freezing bags, make sure all of the peaches are completely covered by the syrup to prevent browning.
Source: The Sun 2 August 1989
Apples should be stored in a refrigerator, between 32 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit, in a plastic bag for best results. (Maryland State Apple Commission: "Maryland Apples") Refrigerated apples will last two weeks to several months, depending on the variety. Apples may be frozen in slices or in a pie mixture. Balls Bluebook suggests boiling the apples for two minutes, then cooling in ice water prior to draining, and freezing in plastic bags.
Source: Ball Bluebook, p. 87.
The best way to freeze winter squash is to first cut it into pieces of suitable size for individual recipes. You can also puree it, add your butter, salt and pepper, etc., then put into freezer bag.
General Instructions for Freezing Vegetables:
Most vegetables can be frozen for approximately a year and still retain their freshness, if they are properly handled. The vegetable must be blanched, which requires submersing the vegetable in a mesh bag, or with a wire basket, into rapidly boiling water for specific lengths of time, and then cooling the vegetable in ice water until chilled. Vegetables must then be packed and frozen in a single layer. Once they are thoroughly frozen, the packages may be stacked.
Snap Beans: 3 minutes
Broccoli: medium sections: 3 minutes; large sections: 4 minutes.
Corn: Ears: 6, 8 or 10 minutes, depending on size (1 1/2 in, 2 in, or larger, respectively)
Whole Kernel: 5-6 minutes, each ear; remove corn from ear and pack.
Greens: 2 minutes
Source: Balls Blue Book, p. 96-98.