If you’ve been following my Summer Fruit Series you know I’ve been doing a lot of fruit picking with my kids this summer. So far we’ve brought home peaches, blueberries, raspberries, boysenberries, apples, pears, figs, and strawberries. We now have so much fruit. But that’s OK, because we’ve been baking with it and preserving it as we go so that nothing goes to waste.
We’ve made jam, syrup, pie, cake, and bread. But what we’ve mostly done is freeze it. Freezing fruit at home is so easy! If you need more convincing, here are some of the reasons that I love to freeze my own fruit at home.
Why You Should be Freezing fruit at Home
1. Keep those nutrients intact
One of the things that really makes me jump up and down about frozen fruit is that freezing keeps all of the fruits nutrients intact. Any time you’re heating fruit, you lose some of the valuable vitamins and minerals they contain.
This means if you’re canning peach slices in syrup they’re not going to have the same nutrients as fruit you’ve frozen prior to eating. Add to this that you can keep your frozen fruit au naturale with no added sugar or preservatives, and you end up with a much healthier end product.
2. Store in perfect quantities
I often freeze fruit in set amounts according to recipes I use frequently. 2 cups of mashed bananas in a freezer bag for banana bread. 1/2 cup of chopped strawberries in a muffin tin for strawberry pancakes. Having just what I need is so convenient, and it makes it easier to cook at home for my family.
3. Save a bunch of cash
Any way you look at it, fruit is expensive! Picking your own at Pick Your Own farms can really cut down on the cost. But even if you buy your fruit at the farmers market or supermarket, you’ll be able to get it in season, when prices are at their lowest, and flavors are at their best!
When you’re going to freeze what you buy, you can take advantage of sales, too. If you would normally buy 1 pineapple on sale, why not get 3?When what you don’t eat goes in the freezer you can save a lot of money in the long run.
Some supermarkets will have slightly overripe fruit at a big discount. A farm stand near my house had a sale last month that made my jaw drop. Organic bananas for $1 per 5 pounds! The bananas were spotty, and would only be good for another day or two before they were past usefulness. Of course when you’re freezing bananas this is just how you want them. Soft and sweet, perfect for baking or tossing in smoothies.
4. Eat summer fruit all winter
I know I already mentioned this, but it’s a big one for me. We get in a major fruit rut around here in the winter. Summer fruits get so expensive, we pretty much subsist on apples, oranges, and bananas for months. And as much as I love these fruits, by the time spring rolls around I’m feeling pretty desperate for something different.
But when we freeze our own fruit this isn’t nearly as much of a problem. Making an Oregon strawberry pie in November? Yes, please! Blueberry muffins in February would normally cost an arm and a leg. Freeze those berries in the summer and it’s no problem.
5. Stockpile your favorite fruit
When you’re thinking about what fruit you’re going to freeze, it’s a good idea to keep in mind how much room you have in your freezer. I have a nice chest freezer that keeps my fruit in a deep freeze. But even so I can’t fill it with nothing but fruit, or I’ll have to give up a lot of other things. If you don’t have a separate freezer for long term storage, you’ll want to really prioritize your space.
Think about what fruits are more important to you, and what fruits are really expensive. Crazy about raspberries? Those little things get really expensive out of season, so you might want to freeze more raspberries than you would something like bananas, which you can get all year at a reasonable price.
Personally I’m a big fan of figs, but I almost never see them at the store. They just don’t ship well. I was lucky enough to find some at a local U-Pick farm recently, so I stocked up and froze those little dears!
These are some of the reasons that I love freezing fruit at home. What are some of your favorite things to make with frozen fruit? Feel free to share in the comments!