Just before the Christmas holidays, stone fruit and berries seem to drop to unimaginably low prices. Of course I bought a ridiculous amount of fresh fruit that we will never get through, because that’s just what I do, right?
Well, I’m also loathe to waste a single thing, and with punnets of blueberries and blackberries sitting in the fridge getting softer by the minute, I decided they needed to get put into the freezer to live another day.
Freezing berries is simple. I just place them on a piece of baking paper on a tray and stick them in the freezer until they’re firm, then pop them into zip lock bags to continue their freezer experience until they’re needed for muffins, cakes, sauces, smoothies, etc.
Freezing the peaches and nectarines wasn’t quite so simple, but still fast enough and effective. Stone fruit needs to have its skin removed to be at its frozen best. I was freezing peaches and nectarines for smoothies, so I cut them into chunks once they were blanched and the skin removed. This method works best with firm, ripe fruit, but can certainly be used for less robust fruit, yet the skin won’t come off quite so cleanly.
Here’s how I did it.
- Wash the peaches and nectarines well.
- Prepare a large tray (that will fit into your freezer) and line it with double layers of baking paper.
- Bring a large pot of water to the boil and prepare a bowl of ice water.
- Gently lower the fruits into the boiling water and bubble for 30 seconds.
- Remove the peaches and submerge into the ice water for about 10 seconds.
- Remove the fruit from the ice water and pinch the skin of the fruit, peeling it away.
- If the fruit was ripe and firm (and you’re lucky), the skin should slip off very quickly and easily in mostly one piece.
- If the fruit gives you a little more grief than this, you can use a small knife to ease it up.
- For very thin skinned nectarines, I rubbed them gently with a wet towel and the skin just slipped off.
- Cut the fruit down the middle around the seed and twist lightly to separate.
- Carefully lever the seed out and discard.
- Place the halves “seed side” up on the paper lined tray, making sure they aren’t touching each other. If you like, you can cut the fruit into even smaller chunks before you freeze it.
- Pop the tray into the freezer for a couple of hours, or until the fruit is mostly frozen through. Transfer directly to zip lock bags and return to the freezer.