When I think about homesteading, I think about our connection with food and the celebration of the abundance we have been blessed with. There are so many people who are surviving on so little, I really try to be in a state of constant gratitude for the blessing of food.
Food can provide us with a very strong connection to the earth. I try to eat local as much as possible which also provides a connection to my immediate community. Depending on where you live, you won’t get local produce all year long. This is why I freeze as much as possible produce during the growing season.
This post is all about freezing fruit. (There will be a follow up post for veggies). This is a great starting point for beginners as well a good refresher course or source of inspiration for pros.
There are many fruits we freeze in simple syrup. Peaches are a good example. I freeze them in simple syrup, with lemon juice. They will turn brown unless you add ascorbic acid to them before freezing.
Recipe for Simple Syrup is used for Peaches, Cherries, nectarines, pears, and Plums
This is the best for freezing fruit that is the closest to their natural sweetness. When freezing peaches and other large fruit, look for just ripe, sweet fruit that pulls away easily from the pit. One batch would take about 5 peaches. So think of that amount when you’re freezing any other fruit.
The lightest syrup is good for most fruit. The guideline is the more tart the fruit, the sweeter the syrup should be.
We will use peaches at the example. Peaches will require the lightest syrup.
Light – 2 cups sugar to 6 cups water (yields 7 cups)
Medium – 3 cups sugar to 6 cups water (yields about 7.2 cups)
Heavy – 4 cups sugar to 6 cups water (Yields about 7.4 cups)
Wash and peel the fruit. You can boil things like peaches for a minute or 2 and then plunge them into ice water. When they are still a bit warm the peels will slip off with minimal effort. (You can use a paring knife if you’re struggling). Remove pits.
Cut up your peaches. Place them in a bowl and mix in ¼ cup lemon juice. Stir gently until all of the fruit has been coated. Mix your peaches with the simple syrup, enough to cover the fruit and put in a freezer zipper bag or container. Label your peaches with the date. Make sure you get all the air out of the bag before freezing. Only freeze ¾ of the bag leaving room for the expansion that happens during the freezing process.
I would eat up the fruit within 3 months of freezing. The texture will start to change the longer you have them.
A fabulous way to freeze berries is flat on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper in a single layer until frozen solid. They can then be transferred into a container. Freezing them this way allows them to retain their shape and not clump together. Wash your fruit. If you are doing strawberries, hull them first. You can do blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, cranberries etc. dry them well before freezing.
Label your containers clearly so you know when you made them. I would eat up the berries within 3 months.
As fruit and berries come into season freeze them at that time. This is when they are at the height of their ripeness and quality and produce it always cheapest when it is in season.