Freezing is a great way to preserve seasonal fruits.
Peeled peaches, apples, and pears turn brown due to oxidation. The following are optional methods to help prevent fruit from darkening.
1. To one gallon of water add two tablespoons salt and two tablespoons distilled (clear) vinegar. Don’t soak more than 15 or 20 minutes. The fruit may absorb the salt and vinegar flavor. Rinse before adding sugar or syrup.
2. To one gallon of water add one teaspoon citric acid (available in powder form). Don’t soak more than 30 minutes. The fruit may develop a slightly acidic flavor. Fruit does not need to be rinsed.
3. To one gallon of water add one teaspoon ascorbic acid (available in powder form). Fruit does not need to be rinsed.
4. Use ascorbic acid mixture and follow manufacturer’s directions — usually two teaspoons to one gallon of water. Fruit does not need to be rinsed.
5. Drop peeled fruit immediately into syrup that may or may not have ascorbic acid or ascorbic acid mixture added. For ascorbic acid, add one-eighth teaspoon to each cup of cold syrup. Follow manufacturer’s directions for ascorbic acid mixture.
If you use methods 1, 2, 3, or 4, it is not necessary to add ascorbic acid or ascorbic acid mixture to syrup or sugar, provided you prepare only two or three pints at one time.
Freezing fruits with sugar or syrup isn’t necessary, but it makes a better product. If you are on a low-sugar diet and want to use a sugar substitute, recipes can be obtained from the manufacturer.
Syrup pack preparation
A 40 percent syrup (three cups sugar in four cups water) is used for most fruits depending on how sweet you like it. Use about one-half or two-thirds cup of syrup for each pint of fruit. The syrup generally does not need to be heated to dissolve the sugar. If you do, let it cool before adding to fruit.
Allow space in freezer containers for expansion. For pint containers with a wide opening, allow one-half inch; for quarts allow one inch. For pints with a narrow opening, allow three-fourths inch; for quarts allow one and one-half inches. Be sure that syrup covers the fruit.
Sugar pack preparation
Most fruits need about one pound of sugar to four pounds of fruit or about two cups of sugar to 12 cups of fruit depending on individual taste. When freezing peaches, apples, or pears, add ascorbic acid or ascorbic acid mixture to the sugar to help prevent fruit darkening.
If fruit is juicy, ascorbic acid or ascorbic acid mixture can be mixed with sugar. Pack fruit firmly to remove as much air in the container as possible. Allow about one-half inch for expansion.
Next week we will take a look at how to pack and label containers and thaw your fruit. For more information on this topic and many others, contact your local Blount County Extension Office at 205-274-2129. For information on virtual programs, check out our Facebook page, “Blount County-Alabama Extension.”