In this post: Anyone with some freezer space and about 15 minutes to spare can freeze fresh fruits and vegetables for long-lasting freshness. Here’s how!
Freezing fruits and vegetables at home can seem like one of those complicated things that you can only do in a huge factory setting but actually, anyone with some freezer space and 15 minutes to spare can freeze fruit and vegetables that will stay fresh and nutritious for up to a year!
Whether you stock up during a sale at the grocery store or at local farms and farmers markets in the summer and fall, freezing fruits and vegetables can go a long way to saving you money on food and also keeping your freezer well-stocked for emergencies.
It’s incredibly easy, so much so in fact that you could have your kids do it for their daily science lesson.
It is important to note that there are different steps for freezing fruits and vegetables.
Fruits, can, in fact, be both more difficult and easier depending on the type of fruit you want to freeze.
Here’s how you can freeze fresh vegetables and fruit at home.
Want to grow your own foods when the growing season is short? Check out this post on foods you can grow indoors!
Supplies Needed to Freeze Fruits and Veggies
You will most likely have the supplies you need to freeze produce at home already. Just in case you don’t, I’ve linked to each one below on Amazon:
How Do You Freeze Fresh Fruit?
There are two different methods for fruits depending on the type of fruit you want to freeze.
One requires simply laying fruits like berries on a cookie sheet to freeze, before moving them to an airtight container. The second method for fruits that brown easily, like apples, is similar, but requires an extra step. See below for each method.
Before you get started with either method make sure you:
- go through and remove any damaged fruit
- wash the fruit with water just to get any stray dirt off
To freeze fresh berries:
- Simply lay clean berries in a single layer on a baking sheet.
- Put the baking sheet of fruit in the freezer.
- Once the berries are frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag or other airtight container.
To freeze other fruits that typically turn brown
Fruits that go brown like apples, apricots, and peaches need to be treated with ascorbic acid, aka vitamin c before freezing. You can find powdered forms in health food stores.
Alternatively, you can do a DIY version at home by mixing a quart (about a litre) of water with a tablespoon of lemon juice.
Here are the steps to freeze other fruits:
- Slice the fruit you want to freeze.
- Then dip each slice in ascorbic acid or lemon water mixture.
- Lay each slice in a single layer on a baking sheet.
- Put the baking sheet of fruit in the freezer.
- Once they’re frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag or other airtight container.
What Fruits Can Be Frozen?
The easiest fruits to freeze are:
But you can also freeze:
- oranges and other citrus fruits
How Long Can You Keep Frozen Fruit in the Freezer?
Most fruits will last in the freezer for 8 to 12 months.
Citrus fruit will only stay good for about 3 months in the freezer though.
How Do You Freeze Fresh Vegetables?
Thankfully, vegetables are very easy to freeze and there’s really only one method for freezing them.
Start by making sure you are only freezing vegetables that are at their peak freshness.
Remove any blemishes and chop the vegetables into the size and shape you will want them to be in when you eat them.
If you’re veggies are beyond their peak freshness (but not rotten), it would be best to make them into a stew or soup instead of freezing them as is.
- Once your veggies are chopped they need to be blanched.
- Finally, make sure that they are thoroughly dry by letting them sit on paper towels and gently pat them.
- Once the veggies are chopped, blanched and dried, they’re ready to be put in freezer bags. Be sure to squeeze as much air out of the bag as possible or use a vacuum sealer.
How to Blanch Veggies
Put chopped or cut up veggies in boiling water for 2 minutes. Then drain them and immediately submerge them in ice water, or run cold water over them.
Be sure to drain them well. Squeeze excess water out of leafy greens and veggies like zucchini.
This will destroy any microorganisms that might be on the vegetables and it will also keep the color, flavor, and nutrients locked into the veggies.
Can You Freeze Fresh Vegetables without Blanching Them?
Yes and no. A few veggies do okay in the freezer without blanching first:
- sweet peppers
- winter squashes
What Vegetables Can Be Frozen?
It should be noted, that not all vegetables freeze well. Think about the frozen food aisle of the grocery store. There are some foods that you just never see. This is because they don’t freeze well.
Here are several veggies that freeze just fine though:
- Brussel sprouts
How Long Can You Keep Frozen Veggies in the Freezer?
Vegetables will typically stay good in your freezer for about a year, especially if you make sure they’re dry before freezing them and you store them in a truly airtight container.
Looking for other money-saving food and meal planning resources? Check out our full list of Meal Planning Ideas and Resources That Really Work!