Thursday, August 6, 2009

Freezing Fruits and Pesky Pesticides

I've been so wrapped up in freezing the loads of blueberries and peaches we have from the farmers' market and farm share and even the grocery stores, that I need to remember to eat some fresh!

Freezing fruits preserves much of their nutritional value. When freezing berries or cherries (remove pits first), wash them first, and air-dry them. Spread them out in a single layer on a cookie sheet and freeze them thoroughly, usually 4 to 6 hours. Put them in a freezer-quality ziploc bag or tupperware. Freezing them individually prior to bagging them up will eliminate the problem of having a solid mass of berries which must be thawed to use. The berries will stay loose and you can take out what you need. This way, you can freeze whatever will fit into your container and not be too concerned about specific amounts. Sliced rhubarb can be frozen with this method, as well.

For peaches, I don't usually freeze slices individually, so I measure the amount I'll need for a pie and write that amount on the container. If you do freeze slices first, which allows you to take out what you need and not concern yourself with measuring pre-freezing, spread them on a cookie sheet like the berry method, above. Two or three hours in the freezer should be enough to harden them. My husband's aunt told me that she freezes whole peaches on a cookie sheet, then puts them in ziploc bags and returns them to the freezer, and when she wants one, microwaves it for 30 seconds or so. She swears that they are almost like fresh. I don't have a microwave, so haven't tried this, but Jan is an honest person and a good cook, so I trust this works.

If you have too many bananas to eat before they go bad, throw them into the freezer (no need to wrap) and pull them out when you want to make banana bread. They thaw quickly.

Fruits and vegetables to get low or no spray

Any food pyramid or doctor will tell you to eat lots of fruits and vegetables and farmers' markets will drive the point home by displaying gorgeous rainbows of produce. A lot of stands at farmers' markets in Somerville and Cambridge advertise low-spray, or even no-spray items. But what if they aren't "low or no"? Should you avoid them altogether? Is fresh and sprayed better than nothing at all? Is peeling enough? These and other questions are answered by the Environmental Working Group ( Check out their website for a list of fruits and vegetables with the worst pesticide sprays.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I just found your blog. According to the Verrifarm blog, you should not wash blueberries before freezing:
"Don’t wash berries until just before using to prevent berries from becoming mushy.

Chill berries soon after picking to increase shelf life. If refrigerated, fresh-picked blueberries will keep 10 to 14 days.

Freeze berries in freezer containers without washing to keep the skins from toughening. Place berries one layer deep. Freeze, then pour the frozen berries into freezer containers. Because unwashed blueberries freeze individually, they can be easily poured from containers in desired amounts. Remember both frozen and fresh berries should be rinsed and drained just before serving. Just before using, wash the berries in cold water. "

-Wendy B.