10 rules for quality freezing of berries and fruits
Freezing berries and fruits is the best way to provide yourself with vitamins for the whole winter. Cold is a natural preservative. Frozen berries and fruits retain their benefits to the maximum. And in frozen currants, for example, vitamin C is many times more than in fresh! You can freeze anything you want. Usually it is strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, mulberries, currants, sea buckthorn, even watermelon. Of fruits - apricots, plums, pears, peaches, grapes. How to freeze berries and fruits so as to maximize their benefits, we will describe in the article.
1. Choose berries to freeze carefully
Freezing begins with a selection of berries. For freezing, select ripened, but not overripe fruits. Do not collect or buy immature berries for freezing. They, unlike some fruits, do not ripen later in the sun. Do not freeze damaged fruit. Choose berries of saturated color.
When buying, pay attention to the containers. Wet spots inside indicate that the berries are overripe. If it happens that some berries have already deteriorated, sort through everything, discard the spoiled and just soft, to avoid further spread of mold.
2. Wash berries correctly before freezing.
Wash your berries in very cold water. Put the strawberries in a colander first and rinse carefully under cold water before tearing off the stalks. If you tear them off before washing, water can affect the texture and aroma of the berries.
Do not rinse blackberries, raspberries, mulberries, currants, sea buckthorn and blueberries with running water, as the pressure of the water can damage them. Instead, place the berries in a colander and dip them in a bowl of cold water. Gently colander in the water, then drain the water.
To dry the berries, after washing, carefully lay them in one layer on a tray covered with paper towels. Blot on top with another dry paper towel and allow to dry naturally.
3. Ensure the tightness of the packaging
Lay the berries for freezing in special food containers (they are marked on the permissibility of freezing) or in plastic reusable zip bags with fasteners. To prevent berries from absorbing odors in the freezer, cover them tightly.
Try to get the most air out of the bag before sealing it. There is such a simple way: close the bag, leaving a small hole, insert a cocktail tube into it and try to maximize your lips to draw air out of the bag. After that, instantly remove the tube and close the bag so that the air does not have time to accumulate back.
4. Do portioned frosts
In order not to drum on a frozen block of berries and not to catch breakaway pieces in the kitchen, it is worth making sure that the berries are frozen in small portions. How much do you approximately need for one meal or, for example, for a pie?
5. Sign all containers with freezing
To quickly find the products you need and also not to expire their storage, sign all containers with frozen fruits. The name of the berries, date of freezing and weight should be indicated. Convenient if you have a kitchen scale. If not, then you can write, for example, the number of glasses.
6. Do not re-freeze!
Berries and fruits must not be frozen and thawed again, while they lose vitamins. But most importantly, berries and fruits in the process of repeated freezing-thawing can deteriorate and lead to food poisoning.
When thawing, microorganisms actively begin to multiply, which lead to decay. Unfortunately, low temperatures do not kill them, but stop their activity for a while. But with repeated defrosting, they begin to multiply with a new force, which can be dangerous to health.
Also, the water that forms on thawed foods turns into large ice crystals that destroy the structure of berries and spoil their appearance.
7. Maintain shelf life
Frozen berries can be stored in the freezer for up to 12 months, provided that the temperature is not above minus 18 degrees. If the temperature in the freezer is minus 12 degrees and above, then it is advisable not to store blanks for longer than 4 months.
Another nuance is to store berries in the depths of the freezer, so on the doors or closer to the edge the temperature often fluctuates when you open the freezer. This shortens the shelf life of products. In these places it is better to store what you intend to use soon for cooking.
8. Freeze fast - defrost slowly
It is necessary to defrost gradually, preferably in the refrigerator, but also at room temperature. In no case - in the microwave! There is a rule that should be remembered when harvesting vitamins for the winter: freeze quickly, defrost - slowly.
9. For baking berries do not defrost
Since when thawing berries lose their juiciness, and some of the vitamins go into juice, if possible, do not throw it away. It is better not to defrost berries for baking, but to immediately put in the dough. So that the juice from the berries does not spoil the pastries, mixing them with a small amount of starch (2 tbsp. Per kilogram of berries) will help.
10. Each product has its own way of freezing.
You can freeze berries and fruits in different ways:
- mixes and separately;
- in the form of mashed potatoes;
- cut into pieces or wrinkled;
- with sugar, syrup or without.
But it happens that for different berries or purposes for which they are harvested, you need to use different methods of freezing. For example, strawberries and watermelon significantly lose their taste when frozen, become less sweet. Peaches, frozen whole or in particles, darken and lose vitamin C. Therefore, it is worth considering some of the nuances when freezing these fruits.
Peaches can be frozen whole with bones, wrapped in paper and put in hermetically sealed bags so that they do not pick up odors. But for peaches, it is characteristic that they darken after freezing, so they are often frozen in the form of mashed potatoes (with or without sugar) or under syrup.
If you want to keep peaches beautiful and in their natural color, 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, but only on the appearance. To easily peel the peaches, they must be blanched (dipped in boiling water) for 30 seconds, then quickly transferred to cold water for a few seconds, then the peel will easily go away.
You can even freeze watermelonbut it will completely lose its structure and will no longer be crispy. But it can be used for desserts, smoothies, cool drinks instead of ice. To make it sweet, it is worth pouring pieces (or balls, scooped up with an ice cream spoon) with sugar at the rate of 350 g of sweet powder per kilogram of watermelon. It also turns out deliciously to freeze watermelon in sugar syrup (500 g of sugar per liter of water).
Cherries and sweet cherries can be frozen with or without seeds. If you want to cook compotes, jelly, jelly, desserts from these fruits - freeze with stones. If you want to freeze cherries for pies - do it pitted.
Sometimes houses can stay bananas. If they already begin to blacken from above, you can still save these fruits. Peel them, cut them into cubes or rings about 3 cm wide, place them in one layer on a tray covered with parchment paper, and freeze.
If you want to decorate the dish with berries, freeze them with sugar, because this way they better preserve color and texture, while those that are frozen without sugar should be added to cakes and other pastries.
How to make syrup for freezing berries
Mix in a pan 1 liter of cold water with 300 g of sugar (for more acidic fruits, you can take 400-500 g of sugar), bring to a boil and boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Let the syrup cool.
Put the berries in containers or plastic bags, pour in the syrup, leaving a centimeter or two to the top of the empty space so that it does not spill when frozen. Use about a glass of syrup per kilogram of berries or so that the liquid completely covers the fruit or berries. Wipe the edges of the containers, close them tightly and put them in the freezer.