How To Freeze Fresh Fruit

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Two wonderful things are happening right now:  One is the abundance of glorious fresh strawberries and mangos on the scene right now, with cherries, stone fruits and berries on the way.  The other is that the weather is getting warmer, which means I need that same fruit frozen for SMOOTHIE SEASON.  Oh, yeah!  Even in sunny Southern California, it isn’t always warm enough to warrant icy, cold shakes in the morning.  Most school days, I prefer to get everyone started with a hot breakfast to keep toasty.  But just about this time of year and throughout the dog days of summer, we pull out the blender and frozen fruit to whip up our favorite smoothies.  Of course, frozen fruit also allows us to enjoy delicious crisps and crumbles in the off season for a very special treat.

Believe it or not, there is actually a method to freezing fruit.  I’ll share with you here my tips and tricks for doing it right the first time so that you don’t end up with a big solid mass.

What can you freeze?

Anything you’ve seen in the freezer section at the supermarket is fair game, including:

  • berries
  • cherries
  • peaches and nectarines
  • pineapple
  • bananas
  • mangos
  • pears
  • papaya
  • fruit purees

How to freeze fruit:

  • wash and dry fruit;
  • remove any peels you don’t want to eat such as banana, mango, papaya and pineapple (if you don’t do this before freezing, you won’t be able to do it after — this is experience talking here);
  • remove stems from strawberries, cores from pears, and pits from stone fruits and mango;
  • cut fruit into chunks so it’s easier on your blender later;
  • arrange fruit in one layer on a baking sheet or dish that will fit in your freezer, making sure pieces of fruit aren’t touching each other;
  • freeze until completely firm and solid;
  • once frozen, transfer to container with a lid that is just large enough to hold your fruit or in a ziploc bag.  Anything too big can result in freezer burn.
  • You can store frozen fruit for 6-12 months.

Freezing fruit does not affect its nutritional profile nor its enzymes.  In fact, if freezing fruit immediately after harvest, the nutritional content is likely higher than fresh fruit that has been off the vine for a few days.  Enjoy!

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  1. lindsy marshall says

    I have 4 room mates and we have a bottom freezer, so it’s not really possible for them to freeze on a tray. any suggestions?

    • Pamela says

      Absolutely! You can use anything at all that allows you to freeze the fruit in one layer — a plate, baking dish, casserole, pie plate, etc.

  2. Julie says

    Hi Pamela,
    Here is a response all the way from sunny Queensland, Australia!
    I came across your website whilst searching whether best to purée or chop papaya before freezing, we have heaps ripening at present.
    I have been freezing fruit for years and the only tip I don’t think is mentioned is that pulp of passion fruit is much better frozen in ice cube trays then decanted into plastic bags when frozen. I also do this with lemon and lime juice.
    With pip and stone fruit I usually stew lightly then freeze like that for later use in pies, crumbles, or over breakfast cereals.
    I have frozen whole tomatoes, again spread on trays then into bags when frozen. You can drop them whole into stews, etc, and if you want the skins of the trick is to put the frozen toms in a bowl, cover with boiling water for ONE MINUTE ONLY, drain, then the skins will slip off easily.
    Or again, stew lightly then freeze the purée.
    Hope these tips help!

  3. Rebecca says

    I always spread a piece of wax paper or plastic bag on my cookie sheet to spread the fruit on – then it’s very simple to just pick up the ends and use the the plastic as a funnel. Also – you can get more fruit on this way as it will break apart from each other when lifting off the pan.

  4. hurshy says

    this sounds interesting and i must revisit it, but i got here while looking for an answer to another question – how long does it take for solids to freeze in a freezer? have you an idea how long it takes for your strawberries, for instance?

    • Pamela says

      Great question to which I do not have an exact answer! I imagine strawberries would freeze in an hour or two. I think it depends on the volume of the food in question. Stock, for example, will freeze more quickly in a shallow pan than a stout one.

  5. Beverly says

    Well I’ve been freezing strawberries and blueberries for years I don’t do anything to them unless the strawberries are huge in which case I cut then in half Sometimes I cut off the stems not always
    I pop then in freezer bags and date them. I often just put the blueberries flat When I want to use them for smoothies, I then rinse them off with water and cut green stems off strawberries! It’s worked for years Now I do understand the bananas and other fruits like peaches, but thought I’d pass on an easier method for the blueberries and strawberries.

  6. Dana says

    Thanks for the great advise. I was just given a bunch of papayas and knew wouldn’t be able to eat all of them before they became overripe. Now that I know they can be frozen I will be doing that so they can be used in future recipes.

    • Pamela says

      Frozen papayas are great in smoothies! I noticed in your other comment about tossing lemon juice with apples, which makes total sense, although I froze some apples recently without anything on them and they didn’t turn brown. I wonder why that is….

      • Mariana Deftereos says

        I would like to now, how to freeze Fruit pure.My son with autism eats fruits only this way but he also likes it at room temperature.

        • Pamela says

          Sure! Freeze your fruit puree in ice cubes trays or in small containers. If you freeze in large containers, you’ll have to defrost the whole thing and your son may not eat all the puree fast enough. There are lots of different silicone ice cube molds that have larger sizes. Or you can freeze in small glass or plastic containers. Loot at my post on how to freeze liquids. Even though a fruit puree is not liquid, it will expand like liquid so it’s good to know the technique.

    • Pamela says

      They can all be frozen if you intend to use them in smoothies, but I would freeze those fruits for a future fruit salad. Perhaps you could use thawed frozen apples or plums in a crisp or crumble! Never tried it, though.

  7. alice says

    I never wash blueberries or blackberries before freezing. I lay them out on cookie sheets like you did, freeze till hard, then quickly put into FREEZER zip lock bags. I use a straw to suck out extra air and label with date. Before using, rinse well with running water.

    • Pamela says

      Sure! Just don’t do anything crazy like take the glass jars from the freezer and put them into hot water ;).

  8. Danielle Beckstead says

    I am definatly trying this soon!! I have a family of four and this seems like a great idea!!

    • Pamela says

      It really comes in handy for lots of things, not just smoothies. We just had a bumper crop of peaches and couldn’t use them fast enough so I froze a bunch which I can use in crisps or sauteed over ice cream or oatmeal.

  9. Andrea says

    Hi Pamela,
    Such great information! I love smoothies and I am excited to freeze the fruit correctly!!
    No wonder my fruit always Clumped…Your the best , thanks

  10. says

    Mmmm… very interesting. I always just wash, cut up, and throw in a ziploc bag. If I do this method I will accomplish two things at once: I’ll have to organize my freezer first to make room for this method : )

  11. Kadie says

    This is so helpful! I always just trow them in a bag and they always clump together with freezer burn.

    • Pamela says

      Drat. I wish I could send some through the computer to you! At least Jersey has fabulous blueberries :)


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