Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Freezing Fruit to Save Money

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Bottom shelf- frozen peaches, nectarines, mangoes, and bananas. 
I absolutely love mango. It's my favorite fruit in the whole wide world. It's my husband's favorite fruit as well, and my kids would eat it day and night if I'd let them.
The thing is, though, that even when they are in season, they are expensive fruit where I live. Which means we usually only end up getting mangoes a few times a year.
This morning I was in the grocery store and saw mangoes- on the reduced rack. I've never seen them there before. The reduced rack is a great way to get produce cheaply- caveat is- they're past prime.
I took a good look at the mangoes and saw that they looked pretty good, unblemished, free of nasty looking bits. Just ripe. Very ripe.
I bought the lot- a ton of mango! And while I was at it, a bunch of peaches and nectarines from the reduced rack. 
At a great price.

Now what could you do with a lot of past prime fruit? I'll give you a hint- you put them in your fridge for a day or two or three and there's a good chance you'll have a stinkin' lot of mold.

You freeze them!

Freezing fruit is a great way to save money.
It saves money in many ways:
You can buy past prime fruits (and veggies) for cheaper, because you don't have to worry about using it all up before it spoils.
You can buy large quantities of fruit when they're on sale and freeze them to use later when they're being sold at full price.
You can grow fruit or forage fruit and therefore get it free, picking a lot, more than you can eat in one go, and then freeze it to use long term.
And of course, no more throwing out spoiled fruits that you bought but don't have time to finish before they go off. Just freeze instead!

What can you do with frozen fruit? Well, you can't just eat it plain as you would fresh fruit.

But there are some great stuff you can do with your frozen fruit:
Blend them in smoothies with milk.
Blend them up into ice cream.
Defrost, and then use them in cakes, pies, and crumbles.
Defrost and cook up into compote, fruit soup, or blended fruit sauce.
Defrost and blend them up and refreeze as popsicles.
Cook dishes like sweet and sour chicken with them.

When you use frozen fruit, remember that once defrosted, their texture will be different, so you want to either cook them, blend them, or eat them frozen.
It's also hard to cut them up once frozen and defrosted, so depending on how you want to use your fruit, cut them differently before freezing. Since I plan on using my mango mainly for smoothies and ice cream, I just cut them into chunks that will blend more easily. But since I will be using the peaches and nectarines for baking, I cut them into slices before freezing.

To use your frozen fruit, some find it beneficial to lay them all in a single layer on a tray until frozen, and once frozen, put them all into a container or bag, because this makes them not stick together when freezing. I don't have enough room in my freezer to do this, so I just freeze mine in bags, preferably smaller bags so I can defrost as much as I need.
If you want to use less than what is in a bag and the fruit is all frozen together, take it out of the freezer and let it soften for about 5 minutes, then use a sharp knife as a wedge and break off pieces. If this doesn't work, let it defrost a bit longer.

I love freezing fruit because I like fruit and I like cheap, and I love frozen treats.

Do you freeze fruit? What fruit do you usually freeze? Why do you usually freeze that fruit? What do you do with it after freezing?


  1. this is so great!

    AND... you get to use it out of season!

  2. But how do you freeze fruit?

  3. Anon - it depends what your end goal is. You can chuck it all in a bag and put it in the freezer. If you do that you'll have a block of frozen fruit so save it in serving-size bags so you don't have to chisel it apart.

    If you want to be able to take out a bit at a time and have the space the best thing to do is to freeze the pieces in a single layer on a cookie sheet until they're rock hard, then you can bag them up.

  4. I frend of me, from Colombia, used to asked me: ¿Would you like a banano ice cream?
    Of course I want it!! ...Then he opened the freezer and serve to me a peeled big banano, beautifull banano, with a wood stick insert to handle . Delicious.
    Just eat it!.
    Trying to write in your lenguage.

    1. Jose, I used to make those for my kids, and they are delicious indeed! Good job with the English, you're doing well.

  5. Mmmm, mango. We almost never have it here, sadly.

    I freeze grapes for snacking in summer, it's a great treat. Our raspberries, blueberries, also good.

  6. We freeze blueberries that are thawed for cooking and to put on breakfast cereal. Also freeze whole bananas that are blended for ice-cream. Next summer I want to try mango and as I see above, grapes. Thanks for the post Penny

  7. Yup, I freeze fruit. I have 8 bananas and 2kg of strawberries in my freezer right now for smoothie making. Mangoes aren't quite cheap enough, but when they are I'll have those. We actually DO eat the fruit frozen as well, a frozen cube of mango or half a frozen strawberry goes faster in my house than a popsicle. And yes, I do this so we'll have them out of season.

  8. You can eat it plain as you would fresh fruit :) Frozen mango and frozen nectarines make a delicious snack.

  9. There used to be a "you pick" strawberry farm not too far from where we lived. My husband and father in-law would pick a lot of them. At first I didn't know what to do with all of them. But eventually I settled on making strawberry jam and freezing them in 1.5 pint containers which I reused every year. To prepare them you: wash, stem and slice, add sugar to taste and freeze. You may leave them whole and sugarless or however you want. I used them later to top pancakes or as the base for fruit salad. I wasn't in to smoothies at that time. Fruit is easy to freeze. There's no blanching involved. With strawberries you have to tend to them right away as they soon deteriorate. For peaches or apples you can buy ascorbic acid to sprinkle on to prevent discoloration.

  10. Thanks for the tips! I just found a great deal on peaches, and will be freezing some. A friend of mine recently gifted me with a sweet blueberry balsamic, and I think the peaches would taste fantastic lightly sauteed in that, maybe over ice cream.

  11. Oh boy, do I ever freeze fruit!
    I also make purees, and freeze those for later use in ices, sorbets-that sort of thing. I've lost track of how many times I've soothed a winter-time sore throat with some pureed plum and ginger ice pops. They freeze well in jars-just leave double the normal headspace. I'm partial to small individual serving freezer bags, but I have, "neatness issues" (as my son calls them).

    If you don't have a food processor, heat the fruit slightly with a tiny bit of water, mash, then run through a food mill by hand. This is better for fruit with small seeds anyway, as you only end up pushing them through a strainer with a food processor.

    I had to laugh at that freezer groaning under the weight of your bargains. I love it!

  12. You can freeze whole tomatoes too, then use them as you would canned tomatoes. Taste much better too.

  13. I have a tip for you. If you press things flat in bags when you freeze them, it's a huge space saver. Simply fill your bag as normal and then press it as flat as possible (but not crushing it of course). Then stack easily in the freezer. I bet you can fit a good 40% more in your freezer this way, instead of the round bags.



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