Whether you've heaps of fresh fruit and veg from your garden or allotment, or you've found some great produce on offer, follow these tips to freeze them to enjoy throughout the year. It's thrifty and easy, and you'll thank yourself later when you've got a stock of fruit and veg in the deep freeze come winter.
- Freeze fruits and veg when they're at their peak.
- Blanch vegetables first, then submerge in ice water. Dry thoroughly.
- Store in heavy-weight, air-tight containers or freezer bags.
- Fill containers to the top and remove as much air as possible from freezer bags.
- Vegetables that hold up well to cooking (sweetcorn, garden peas) generally freeze well, too.
- For better texture, try eating previously frozen fruit before it has completely thawed.
- Fruit and veg freeze best at minus-17 degrees C or colder. Store frozen fruits for about a year; vegetables, about 18 months. (Storing longer is fine, but the quality may decline.)
What happens to frozen fruits and vegetables?
When frozen, the water in fruit and veg expands, causing ice crystals to puncture and break cell walls. As a result, some fruit and veg tend to get mushy when thawed. To reduce the amount of cellular damage, freeze fruit and veg as quickly as possible: colder temperatures produce smaller ice crystals, which do less damage to cell walls. The 'mushy factor' is also why we recommend eating frozen fruits before they have completely thawed.