This may seem like a no-brainer, but I’ve gone through some trial and error in freezing my fruit so I thought I would save some of you the trouble! Freezing your own fruit can save you quite a bit of money if you buy your fruit at rock-bottom prices. For instance, I bought 10-lbs of peaches this week at $0.47/lb, which will last us for at least a month of smoothies. However, I usually buy frozen strawberries at Costco for $1.49/lb. I only freeze my own if I can find them for $1.00/lb or less, since I factor in my time and zip-top bag expenses into the calculation.
- Start by washing your fruit and cutting it into pieces small enough to fit through your blender feed hole. Grapes and berries are already small enough so you can skip the cutting step for those. I leave the peels on my fruit and they are undetectable in the final smoothie. For fruit with pits or cores, I just make 4 cuts right around the core/pit to remove the edible flesh, leaving the core behind. This saves me quite a bit of time.
- If you have enough room in your freezer, place your fruit in one layer on a metal sheet pan. I line my sheet pan with foil so that I don’t have to clean it after the fruit is frozen, but this isn’t necessary.
- Put the sheet pan into your freezer and allow the fruit to freeze completely, 4-8 hours (depending on the size of the pieces).
- Remove the fruit from the sheet pan and place it into a zip-top freezer bag. Store in the freezer until you need it.
- If you don’t have enough room in your freezer for a sheet pan, put the fruit straight into a zip-top bag and then into the freezer. Every hour or so, take the bag out and shake it to move the fruit around. This helps to prevent the fruit sticking together in one big clump.
I have frozen grapes, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, bananas, apples, cantaloupe, watermelon, peaches, mangoes and pineapple with this method. I wouldn’t suggest freezing delicate berries such as raspberries right in the bag. They will break apart very easily.
I freeze bagged spinach right in the bag and it turns out great. You can throw it into your smoothie or use it for cooking as you would store-bought frozen spinach.
In order to be frugal with my zip-top bags, I try to rinse them out and re-use them when I’m done with them or, even better, I try to have another batch of fruit to go into the same bag immediately.