When we got back from blueberry picking at Estes Farm the other day, we had lots of berries to wash and eat. Connor likes them, and Ian LOVES them, but even so we had more than we could eat fresh right away. Thankfully, the freezer is a really easy option for preserving fresh fruit. While vegetables need to be blanched before freezing, fruits do not, so freezing them is quick. There are several methods for freezing fruits. Some people like to freeze fruits in a sugar syrup, called a syrup pack, or using a sugar pack, which is where sugar is sprinkled over the fruit and mixed gently, which allows the sugar to dissolve and mix with the fruits own juices. You can also freeze fruits in unsweetened fruit juice, or in a pectin syrup. My personal preference, however, is to freeze fruits as is, with nothing added at all. This method, known as dry pack, is by far the simplest, quickest method, and the results are excellent. And I like the fact that that this approach doesn’t require any added sugar. I also end up with a much more versatile product this way–I can pull the fruits out of the freezer and use them in any number of ways, adding sugar at that time if I need it, or not.
To pack fruits using the dry pack method, simply rinse the fruit, drain it well, and place in freezer grade plastic bags, other freezer grade plastic containers, or wide-mouth glass canning jars, which are suitable for freezing. If the fruit is particularly juicy, you might want to freeze them first on a cookie sheet and then pack them into the freezer containers, which will prevent the fruit from freezing into a solid mass. Otherwise, packing the fruit into freezer containers and then freezing that way works just fine. You can remove frozen berries or other fruits from their freezer containers just a few at a time, if that’s all you need. No need to defrost the whole bag unless you need it all. Enjoy!