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In writing about 15 frugal tips for feeding my family and then in 15 more frugal tips for feeding my family as well as in the ten tips to save your family money, I spoke all about little things I do to stretch the family dollar. One of those tips included stocking up on fruit when it is season and then processing it for use later in the year. Whether you freeze it, can it, or do something else with it as I do in making applesauce from apple picking in the fall, making use of fruit when you can get it on the cheap is always a frugal tip.
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Freezing fresh fruit is not difficult to do, but it can be time consuming in that you are putting things in the freezer and then taking them out again in batches. If you are like me, you may never be home long enough to do this and just get it done, so, for me this means that I am doing these things as it fits in to everything else going on.
Here is the method I follow for freezing blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries, and other fresh fruit, too.
- First, wash your fruit and remove anything you don’t want to use like stems or leaves.
- Next, strain them, removing as much liquid as you can.
- Then, put the fruit on a cookie sheet, actually the one with sides like mine is called a jelly roll pan – in a single layer. The key here is single layer. The bigger the fruit, the more diligent you have to be in the single layer process. Blueberries are a bit more forgiving if it isn’t exactly a single layer, for instance.
- Once you have your single layer, just pop the tray in the freezer where the tray will stay level. Sometimes, this has not worked out well for me if I forget to tell the kids that the freezer is OFF LIMITS for the time being. Some kids have been known to forget about this whole off limits thing, so just do yourself a favor and put a sticky note on the freezer reminding them to stay out 🙂 Just a friendly tip from one of those “mama blew it” moments.
- The length of time in the freezer will depend on the size of the fruit. Blueberries generally take only a few hours while strawberries are usually left overnight. The idea is that you want them to be completely frozen solid.
- Once the fruit is in fact solid, I like to unstick them from the tray using a spatula. Freezing everything in a single later then allows you to throw them right in a freezer safe container or bag. I have done it both ways and find no difference in quality between the two methods.
- Another tip is to label the bag if it could be a bit hard to identify what’s inside. I freeze both blueberries and black beans the same way, and there is nothing like throwing some blueberries in a Mexican dish because you thought it was black beans. Not that I would know firsthand or anything 😉
That’s all there is to it, it really is that easy. Taking advantage of the fruit in season will save you a ton over time. The price of frozen fruit in a bag is crazy, and it’s not nearly as good. Of course, if you are doing your own picking, there are memories made there, too. We are always lucky enough to make these memories with grandma.
What fruits do you freeze, and how do you freeze them?