A little Canarella History. I have been using frozen fruit since I started canning. My Grandmama Lois taught me to waste nothing and when time was an issue freeze it. She came from a long line of Food Preservers. Every Winter I run out of one jam or another. I get several request for more of the yummy Jams as people have taken to eating them with a spoon right out of the jar. My My !
But there are a few easy steps and no tremendous amount of time you to can save that ripe ready Summer fruit for a Winter Recipe. Many a time I buy in bulk because the more you buy the cheaper the price and after many years in business my vendors still give me great deals. Like the strawberries pictured above I got the two large pallets for $22.00 dollars. Lucky me!
Let us start with tools. My favorite tool I use and have forever is my Seal Saver. This is the third one I have had in my kitchen since the early 1990's. Did you know Vacuum Food Sealers were invented in the early 40's and in 1950 a man named Karl Busch brought it to the next level for commercial use but eventually it came to our now modern kitchen models. Food Savers are the most popular model but there are so many out there.
Do your homework and get this tool.
Now back to the original subject the other tool you need is freezer space. I have a upright large freezer. With my canning and Pa's fishing we need it. There are only a few key steps to freezing your fresh fruit and berries.
Do wash berries they have a lot of dirt and bugs that lodge in the nooks and crannies them. The exception on cleaning prior to freezing berries is blueberries because the skin will toughen up when frozen so be aware of what you will use them for. I make jam so it does not matter to me so I will wash them. Once you wash any berry let it sit in the colander and drain for a good hour.
Second clean fruit by taking the stems off and just lightly rub off any dirty areas. Fresh ripe fruit is delicate so no muscle needed just be gentle.
I slice and chop my stone fruit to make it easier to use once I defrost the bag. I do not peel any of my stone fruit as the peel dissipate when cooked for jam. All my jams are chunky and have bite size pieces of fruit in them. The fruit is really left whole unless it is a stone fruit. To me jam should have fruit in it that you can feel the texture and taste it full bodied. Plus fruit that has been frozen breaks down really quickly once heated.
Look at this picture of fresh blackberries that I froze. Once properly frozen and then defrosted they still look fresh and read for some jammin'. There are many ways to freeze. I know the most popular way on the world wide webbie is to lay all your fruit out on a tray freeze them and then pack and freeze them. After many years freezing fruit right after cleaning them I think as long as you are eliminating all the air and head space you really do no have to.
Another thing you need to be aware of is fruit that changes colors. Let us take Apricots and Peaches for an example. An easy way to prevent this is to make a bowl with 25% lemon juice with 75% water. While you are pitting and chopping them drop them in the lemon mixture then into a colander to drain. What you are doing is coating them this will not affect the flavor of the jam after all you add lemon to most jams. At least we do.
You can also add sugar to coat your fruit prior to freezing but make sure you take note of how much sugar you used. Write it on the container you freeze in. So many options and ways to do this. Here is a great website for informations I use. The National Center for Food Preservation.
Disclaimer: This is not an all inclusive recipe for making jam. You should have a basic knowledge and understanding of the canning process before proceeding. Please consult your local Agricultural Extension Service for additional information and available classes.