Saving Money and Avoiding Food Wastage – My 10 Top Tips for Freezing Fruit
Today we are getting fruity! People tell me regularly that they throw fruit away unnecessarily. While I don’t enjoy eating black bananas or biting into a soft plum, I don’t chuck them. Poor plum, spent its whole life growing into a round, fleshy fruit to be thrown away! In the quest to tighten up the purse strings, the last thing we want to do is bin food.
There are things you can do to reduce your weekly food bills. Saving Money and Avoiding Food Wastage – My 12 Top Tips. I previously explained that “Best Before” dates are about quality and “Use By” dates are concerned with safety.
What to do with fruit at it’s Best Before Date
You use your senses and not the date stamp to guide you. Berries have a shorter shelf life than say pineapples, plums or oranges. I have enjoyed these harder fruits fresh up to 4 weeks after their date.
If you find yourself with too much fruit at the end of the week you can extend its life by freezing it or by cooking and freezing it.
- Any fruit can be frozen if you plan on making a smoothie or cooking with it.
- Fruit with a high moisture content – strawberries, melon and grapes etc. don’t defrost to their original state so eat them semi-frozen.
- To ensure the fruit does not congeal together freeze on a lined tray, then transfer to a freezer bag with a date and a label.
- Make sure there is as little air in the bag as possible. This will ensure maximum freshness for longer. Fruit can appear slightly discoloured after defrosting but it is fine.
- Make up individual servings of fruit in small freezer bags. Remember to always include 50% green veg in your smoothies. If in doubt, use spinach as you will not taste it and it blends well.
- A full freezer is more efficient to run than an empty freezer. When it is well stocked, there is less cold air to be cooled.
- Fruit can be frozen for 6-12 months, but this depends on how fresh the fruit is and how well it has been stored.
- Frozen fruit can be whipped up into a tasty healthy ice-cream, by just adding some Greek yogurt to your blender and either berries or bananas!
- Turn your fruity ice-cream into ice lollies. You can buy lolly moulds from Amazon.
- If you cook the fruit, ensure it has cooled down before you put in the freezer or fridge. Otherwise you will raise the temperature and may cause neighbouring foods to defrost.
Berries can go a little mushy as they release their moisture once they have defrosted. Mushy is not a bad thing, I actually prefer defrosted frozen fruit in my yogurt and granola as they impart sweetness to the yogurt and turn it a beautiful colour. If you are adding the fruit to smoothies it doesn’t actually matter because it all gets liquidised anyway.
Grapes and blueberries are delicious eaten frozen. For a snack I will fill a small bowl and graze on them. Just give then 5 minutes to soften. Or pop them into your wine or fruit juice to keep it cool!
Pineapples and Mangoes are usually good for a week or two after their Best Before date, but not always. Take the skin off and chop into chunks or slices. Keep the pineapple core as this is great in smoothies. I enjoy eating chunks of frozen pineapple and mango just as it is, but you could make it into a delicious Tropical Coconut Ice-Cream.
Bananas should be peeled and cut into slices and placed on a lined tray. Frozen bananas can be used in smoothies or to make Banana Ice Cream.
Apples can be frozen if you plan on cooking with them. Freeze them whole with the skin on for protection. When you are ready to use them, place in cold water for 5 minutes then peel. Or cut and peel, then freeze. Although my preference is to cook before freezing.
ORCHARD FRUITS – Plums, apricots, apples, peaches and nectarines tend to be more robust than berries and can go much longer past their Best Before date before going off. While they still are still safe to eat, they might be too soft to enjoy eating fresh. These fruits don’t freeze well raw, so if you cook them you can avoid throwing them away.
When fruit is cooked it can be easier to digest although the levels of some of the vitamins and minerals may decrease. So in order to maintain the nutritional quality, I suggest cooking for a short amount of time on a low heat with minimal water.
My favourite thing to do with a big batch of plums or nectarines is to chop into small chunks and simmer in a dribble of water. Once cooled I will keep in the fridge for 3-5 days. If I have made a particularly large batch I will freeze in a silicone muffin tray in 80-100g portions – then transfer to a freezer bag. At night I take out 1 portion and some frozen blueberries to defrost overnight in the fridge. Peach and Plum Chia Jam with Greek yogurt and my Sugar-Free Peach Granola is my new obsession!
Bananas that are black are sweeter than yellow bananas. Even though I don’t enjoy eating them like that, I prefer to cook with them in this state because I don’t need to add any sugar.
- Banana and Peanut Butter Bars
- Banana and Chocolate Ice Cream
- Chia Jam
- Sticky Figs with a Vanilla Balsamic Glaze
- Blueberry Feta Nut Salad
- Broccoli and Mango Salad with Sesame Seeds
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