When it's the middle of the summer, we're quickly reminded that this time of year is all too fleeting. And while we never like to see the warm weather go, it's even worse to realize that all this great summer produce is soon going to disappear too. We will once again be left with the over-priced, bland options the grocery stores stock up on.
Well, not this year. If you plan ahead, you can keep a little taste of the summer at hand all year round by freezing your in-season fruit. It's easy to do: you just have to wash, dry and sometimes pit and dice the fruit. Lay them flat on a lined cookie sheet and freeze for one to two hours. Once the fruit is frozen, transfer the fruit to plastic bags to store. The fruit will keep for 8 to 12 months this way.
You can use your frozen fruit with many of these pie recipes, they work great in cobblers and are a natural ingredient in smoothies. Click through the slideshow below to see how to specifically prep each fruit, and keep a stock of the summer's best all year round.
When strawberries are in season, we remember why we love this fruit so much. They taste nothing like those overgrown red fruits we buy at the grocery store. They aren't just sweet, they have a distinct flavor. And one we want to be enjoying all year round which is why you should freeze them when in season. To freeze strawberries you should wash, dry and hull them; then let them freeze in one layer on a wax paper lined cookie sheet before storing them in a bag.
Blueberries are amazing in the summer. Stock up on them now when they're as sweet as they can get; eat what you can and freeze the rest. You freeze blueberries by laying them out on a lined cookie sheet until frozen through (usually for 1-2 hours) before storing them in a Ziploc bag. Some people recommend washing the fruit before freezing them, and others say to prefer to wash the fruit only before you plan to use them. The thought behind this is that washing before freezing <a href="http://www.pickyourown.org/freezingblueberries.htm" target="_hplink">can make them tough skinned</a>. You'll want to use the same method for raspberries and blackberries too.
When cherries are in season, they're finally affordable. And so it's a great time to stock up on them. To freeze cherries you should wash, dry, stem and pit the fruit before freezing them on a lined cookie sheet (and then storing them in a plastic bag).
Frozen peaches are a great fruit to have on hand, especially when you're in the mood for a summery pie or smoothie. To freeze peaches, nectarines or apricots, first wash and dry them. Blanch the fruit and peel it. Then remove the pits and slice or quarter them (depending on how you plan to use the fruit later.) Freeze them first on a cookie sheet and then store in a plastic bag. If you plan to use them in a dessert, you might want to toss them with lemon juice and simple syrup before freezing.
When melon is good, it's really good. And the summertime is when that happens. Freeze them to enjoy that optimal flavor all year round. To freeze melon, cut the fruit into chunks -- removing any seeds -- and freeze in a single layer on a cookie sheet until frozen through. Store in a plastic bag, with a 1/2 inch of space at the top, for 8-12 weeks. Frozen melon works great in smoothies.
WATCH: How To Make A Frozen Fruit Daiquiri