Summertime means an abundance of succulent, sweet and tangy berries, stone fruits, and herbs. It’s hard to pass up on this produce, but unfortunately, it can be even harder to use all of it before it goes to waste. Instead of tossing out rotten fruit, take advantage of the summer harvest through your freezer. Summer berries, peaches, and herbs freeze well—here’s how you can ensure they stay fresh through all the seasons.
Containers and Storage
Whether you use a freezer bag or a plastic container, the most important thing to remember when freezing your fruits and herbs (or anything, really) is that the container has a tight seal and is vapor proof.
If you’re using plastic bags, whatever you’re planning to freeze must be first laid out in a layer, spreading the fruit out to ensure that it doesn’t clump together. When stacking the bags, make sure they are completely frozen first before placing them on top of each other to avoid sticking. Finally, label and date each container to keep track of its freshness!
Blanching the peaches before freezing is very important as it reduces freezer burn and ensures the peach will taste just as fresh thawed as when it was first picked.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil.
- Score an X on the bottom of each peach.
- Lower three or four peaches at a time into the boiling water for no more than one minute.
- Remove the peaches from the boiling water and immediately immerse them into a bowl ice water.
- Once cool enough to touch, peel each peach and cut them into slices. Slices will help in laying the fruit flat, making storage easier.
Blackberries and Blueberries
It may seem easier to just throw all of the berries into a plastic bag and toss it in the freezer, but an extra step ensures they don’t stick together to make thawing easier.
- Lay each berry on a cooking sheet and place in your freezer overnight.
- The following morning, the berries should be frozen. Place them into a plastic freezer bag.
- Lay the bag flat, and roll out the berries so that none are on top of each other.
- Remove as much air from the bag as possible before sealing.
Frozen herbs can actually add more flavor than dried herbs. There are two ways you can freeze fresh herbs: dry and with olive oil. The first method is similar to preserving berries in that you first freeze them on a flat sheet and transfer later to a bag.
The second method makes a paste of the herbs, using olive oil, a blender, and an ice cube tray.
- Wash and pat the herbs dry.
- Chop the herbs.
- Separate each herb in 2 cup portions.
- Mix each of the 2 cups of herbs with ⅓ cup of olive oil in a blender.
- Pour the mixture into ice cube trays.
To use, thaw the cubes in sauces or casseroles for a summer herb kick even in the winter.