Four things I’ve learned this summer:
1. I do not understand why these Jersey Shore kids are famous and making more money than I probably ever will in my lifetime. Am I the only one that doesn’t get this? I also don’t watch Teen Mom or Toddlers and Tiaras, so maybe I’m missing something. If I am, I don’t think I really want to find out.
2. Measuring your summer in peach consumption is a good thing.
3. Figs don’t last past 2-3 days once they’re picked. Make jam, eat them, or freeze them, but don’t leave them in a bowl on the porch and expect them to still be good in a few days. I learned this the hard way…more than once.
4. Freezing fruit on parchment on a baking sheet is the best idea ever.
So far this summer, Nick and I have picked 1 gallon of raspberries, 8 pounds of blueberries, and bought at least 13 pounds of local peaches.
I’ve made jam. Eaten the berries by the handful and in yogurt and on oatmeal. Sliced peaches on shortcakes and dropped berries into pancakes.
The biggest difference this summer is that we finally have a deep freezer. At our old house, we didn’t have the space to buy a separate deep freezer, but now, with our basement, we finally have the room. And thanks to a very generous gift from my grandmother’s friend, we’re now the proud owners of our first freezer.
With all the amazing local produce around us, I’ve wanted to freeze fruit to enjoy in the winter for the past 7 years that I’ve lived here. And I finally have the chance to do it.
This isn’t a recipe, but it’s the best way to freeze your fresh fruit and keep it in the greatest shape possible until you’re ready to use it this fall or on a frigid day in February. It’s also easy and most of the work is hands off!
For the peaches, I took about 8 medium ones, peeled them, halved them, removed the pit, and sliced them into 6-8 pieces.
I placed the peach slices on a parchment lined baking sheet and put them in the freezer for a day until the peaches were completely frozen.
Then I just removed them from the sheet, placed them in a labeled bag, and put the bag right back in the freezer.
Because the fruit isn’t already in the bag while it’s freezing, they slices won’t freeze into a giant clump of fruit.
A frozen cluster of peaches might work okay if you’re thawing it out to make a cobbler or pie, but if you just want a handful of slices for a smoothie, you’ll have a hard time breaking off just a few pieces.
Freezing them solid, separately, on the baking sheet helps keep them from clumping once they’re in the bag – as long as they stay frozen.
I also froze blueberries and raspberries this same way (on baking sheet, bagging after they’re frozen) and some fresh, whole figs!
Will the frozen figs be good? I have no idea. But when the figs were coming off the bushes 2-3 pounds at a time, I had to do something with them. Even after eating them and making 15 jars of jam, I ended up freezing 4 bags of whole figs. And I think we may get another fall harvest?
If nothing else, I think they’ll be delicious cooked down into a sauce for ice cream or thawed and mixed with other fruit in a dessert.
So far, all of the fruit is still separated in the bags. I can pick them up and move the fruit around – no clumps in sight.
Is it weird that this makes me happy? I think I need a new hobby if non-clumping fruit is what makes me smile.
What’s your best kitchen tip you learned this year? About anything!