Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Freezing Seasonal Fruits

About a year ago, my dad's friend was getting rid of a large chest freezer and asked me if I'd like it.  I answered a hearty yes and asked when we could come pick it up.  I was so excited, I took her a loaf of banana nut bread as a thank you since she refused to let me pay for it.

But that excitement was fast-fleeting when I came face to face with my "new" freezer.  Combing through cobwebs, I got my first glimpse of the grimy, putrid box sitting in her shed. When a family of cockroaches crawled out from underneath, I was ready to pack up and go home. We'd brought a tape measure along to make sure it would fit in my pantry, and I was secretly half-hoping that it just wasn't going to work out for me and my freezer with its little family.

Now, I'm so glad that my dad made me look past the nasty exterior (which has now been oh so thoroughly scrubbed and sanitized) to the treasure chest within.  I use something from my freezer almost daily now and am not sure how I got along without it.  It definitely keeps me from wasting leftovers that I've eaten one too many times as I can just pop it into the freezer to enjoy another time.

But one of my favorite things to store in my freezer is fresh seasonal fruits.  I can stock up on my favorites when they're at their peak and enjoy them all year long.  It's also much more cost effective to chop up your own produce to use in smoothies, dishes, baked goods, etc.  And the quality is so much better.

I recently found a goldmine of kiwis and got them freezer-ready. They're so yummy in smoothies, and it only took me long enough to peel and slice them to do it.

 Here's how to freeze some your own fresh produce using my kiwis as an example:

1) When at peak ripeness, peel and slice the kiwis.  You can make them as thick or thin as you want.  I cut each of my kiwis into about 10 slices.
2) Line a metal baking sheet with wax paper and lay the kiwis out in a single layer.  Feel free to layer up with more wax paper and kiwis.
3) Lay the baking sheet in the freezer, and let them harden for 24 hours.
4) Pluck your kiwi frisbees off of the wax paper and put them in a resealable plastic freezer bag.  Label the bag for date/contents.
5) Take them out to use at your leisure.

I've never let a kiwi thaw back out, so I'm not sure if the texture would hold up or not.  But for smoothies and such, couldn't be better.  You could even use them as ice cubes in fruity drinks or float them in a bowl of punch at a baby shower for a pretty accent. Great for cool summer treats on a hot day too instead of a sugary popsicle.  Try this with other sliceable fruits like strawberries, pineapple, bananas, peaches, etc. to stock up your fruity freezer.

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