Tips for Preserving Your Fresh Fruit
Nothing beats the flavor of freshly picked fruit! When fruit is harvested at the right time, it is so wonderfully sweet that you wish the flavors could last forever. Sure, you can eat the fruit until you don’t have anymore but sometimes you want the fresh flavors to last longer than that! If that is the case, preserving the fruit by freezing it, canning it, or making jam is the way to go.
Here is a roundup of some classic methods to preserve the delicious fresh fruit you’ve either picked yourself at Parlee Farms or purchased from Farmstand.
Freeze the Fruit
Freezing is one of the easiest ways to preserve fresh fruit. Simply wash the fresh fruit and let it air dry thoroughly before packing it up to freeze. If the fruit has water droplets on it, this could impact the process. Pack the fruit in a freezable storage container or in special freezer bags. Seal tightly and place in freezer.
If you are nervous that the fruit will turn brown, as is often the case with fruit like sliced peaches, consider squeezing a little lemon juice on it before freezing. You will need three tablespoons of lemon juice for each quart of cut up fruit that you freeze. Just place the juice right in the bag or container, seal it, and shake to disperse the lemon juice.
This is another great option for preserving fresh fruit. If you make jam when the fruit is perfectly ripe, this will make the jam taste even better!
If you plan to eat it right away, there is no need to take the extra step of sealing the jar. It will keep for about a year when the jar is sealed, but it should be eaten within a few weeks if you don’t seal it.
Here is a simple process for making homemade jam:
- Add 2 pounds of fresh fruit that has been cleaned and chopped into chunks to a heavy saucepan along with 2 cups of sugar, a pinch of salt, and 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice. At this stage, you can also stir in a packet of pectin. This is optional, but the pectin will help thicken the jam and help it set.
- Stir the mixture and set the heat to medium. Leave uncovered until the mixture comes to a boil.
- Continue to stir the mixture as it starts to bubble. Set the heat to low.
- Simmer the fruit and sugar mixture until the fruit has broken apart and the texture looks like a regular jam. The mixture should stick to the spoon. This should take 10-15 minutes of simmering.
- Spoon the mixture into clean containers to within 1/4-inch from the top (glass Mason jars works best), cover the containers, and seal them after the mixture cools.
- For this recipe, you will need eight 8-ounce sized Mason jars.
This is an alternate method for making jam and is a little simpler than the method above. Because this jam involves the freezer, you don’t need to take the extra step of sealing the lids in order for it to last longer.
- Mix two cups of crushed strawberries (crush before measuring) and four cups of sugar together in a medium mixing bowl. Let the mixture stand for 10-15 minutes.
- While the strawberries and sugar are setting in the bowl, mix a packet of pectin with 3/4 cup of water. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Let it boil for a full minute before removing from the heat.
- Pour the pectin mixture into the strawberries and stir until well-combined. Let the mixture set for 3-5 minutes.
- Spoon the jam into clean Mason jars to within 1/2-inch from the top. You will need 5 or 6 half pint sized Mason jars for this recipe.
- Cover the jars and let stand to room temperature for 24 hours. After 24 hours, place the jars in the freezer.
Canning is one of the simplest of all types of preserving fruit! The process is pretty much the same no matter what the fruit is but we suggest doing this with our strawberries, blueberries, and fresh peaches!
- Wash, peel, and slice fruit depending on what type of fruit you use. For example, if you are canning berries you don’t need to slice them. Just wash them and let them air dry before you proceed.
- Place the fruit in a clean jar such as a mason jar, packed to within 3/4 of an inch from the top.
- Pour simple syrup over the fruit so that the syrup covers the top of the fruit. You can make the syrup with equal parts water and sugar. Bring the water and sugar to a boil as the sugar dissolves. Let the syrup cool before pouring over the fruit.
- Cover and seal the jar. If you are using the fruit with the next few weeks, you won’t need to seal it.
Note that it doesn’t matter the fruit amounts for this method. You will be able to gauge amounts by simply eyeballing it since you are packing the fruit directly in the jars.
How to Seal the Jars
There are two ways to seal the jars. If you have a pressure sealer, simply follow the manufacturer’s instructions. If you don’t have a pressure canner, you will need to do a water bath. Here is how the water bath is used:
- Place covered jars in a large pan in an upright position.
- Fill the pot with water, making sure that the jars are covered by one inch of water.
- Bring the water to a boil on medium-high heat. Boil for at least five or ten minutes.
- Turn off the heat and let the jars stand in the water for at least 5 minutes before removing.
Make sure you properly label everything after you are done preserving your fruit such as writing the date and the contents on the container or the jar. These methods will work with any fresh fruit that you pick at Parlee Farms and you will be able to enjoy the fruits of summer during the cold winter months.
Categorized in: Recipes
This post was written by Parlee Farms