Capturing and preserving summer fruit at its peak can be a juggling act and require lots of pots and pans. Jellies, jams and fruit butters, though wonderful to stock in the pantry, can be a bit tedious and time-consuming. A simple way to preserve your fruit is by freezing them. Fresh fruit, unlike vegetables are easier to freeze because they do not require blanching. Fruit also retains its nutritive value when frozen and can be kept up to a year until your next harvest. You should freeze only mature fruit so know when to pick your favorites and learn when it is truly ripe and at its best. That requires lots of taste testing in the field!
Do a little homework on each type of fruit you intend to freeze. Certain fruits tend to discolor during freezing, like peaches and nectarines, so adding a pectin mix and immersing the fruit completely can avoid discoloration.
Each type of fruit also has different preparation requirements. If you love fresh apricots and want to preserve flavor, it is best to skin the apricots prior to freezing them, an added step but worth it. The skin on apricots can toughen while frozen. If you do forget to peel the skins, not to worry - you can always use them for cooking. A great coffee cake recipe with apricots can be found in Giada's Kitchen: New Italian Favorites. As Albert Einstein said, “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.”
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