Your strawberry plants are giving you plenty of berries. Your recent visit to the raspberry farm has you swimming in fruit. These are just a few of the good problems you’d like to have when it comes to harvesting your fruits. So, you’ve got a massive harvest of fruit, and can’t eat it all before it starts to go bad. What do you do? There are a few ways that you can safely store your fruit harvest to make sure that you get to enjoy all the summer goodness for months to come.
One of the first options available to you is pretty simple. It requires your freezer, a cookie sheet with sides, wax paper, and some freezer-safe containers. Clean any fruit that you plan to freeze, but do so gently so that you don't damage any of your harvest. For larger fruits like peaches or big strawberries, it can be beneficial to cut them up into chunks and remove any seeds before freezing. Others you may want to blanch before freezing, such as apples.
Once you have your fruit ready to be frozen, you’ll want to line your cookie sheet with wax paper. Then, you’ll take the fruit and lay it out on the cookie sheet making sure that it’s not touching the other pieces. Put it into your freezer until the fruit is frozen individually. The amount of time it takes will depend on the size. Smaller pieces like blueberries and raspberries may freeze pretty quickly while larger pieces may take longer.
After the fruit is frozen, you’ll want to take it off the wax paper and add it to the freezer safe container. Using the cookie sheet first may seem like an extra step, but it makes it easier to use your fruit later on. Just putting it into the container without freezing individually means that you’ll probably have a massive hunk of frozen fruit all stuck together.
Canning is a bit more difficult than freezing your excess fruit harvest, but it well worth the extra effort. There are so many different canning recipes available online and in recipe books that it’s hard to get bored with what you can make. You have the option of just canning the whole fruit without doing much to it, or you can turn your fruit harvest into a tasty jam, jelly or another yummy treat.
Drying or Dehydrating
Drying or dehydrating are two additional methods that you can use for your fruit harvest. A dehydrator is a machine that will remove the moisture out of the fruit so that you can enjoy it much later. This storage trick is a popular method for people that go camping. You don’t have to have a dehydrator for this as you can also use your oven to dry the fruit out. There are some fun recipes for this type of storage, such as cinnamon apple chips. You may even be able to harness the sun to help you with drying your fruit.
For short term storage of fruit in your refrigerator, there are a few things that you can do to keep things fresh longer. First, you’ll want to store your fruit in containers or bags that can breathe. If you have a sealed bag that’s not breathable, there’s a good chance that fruit will go bad faster.
You also want to make sure that you’re not storing wet produce. Dry it off before popping it into the refrigerator. Paper towels can be your friend. Place a paper towel in the bottom of your container when storing things like grapes, berries, and more to help keep moisture levels down.
In addition, make sure you’re not storing different kinds of food or fruits together that can have a detrimental effect on each other. Ethylene for example, a gas emitted from certain fruits as they ripen, can wilt leafy greens, so saving everything separately can be helpful.
Some items, such as apples and pears, store well in cool conditions like a root cellar. The best way to save these types of fruits is by getting a well-ventilated container that you can put in a cool, dry area of your home. You’ll then wrap each fruit up individually and place them carefully into the container. It’s essential not to bruise the fruit as you handle it because this can cause it to rot quicker. If this happens, there’s a good chance that the rot can spread to the other items in the container.
Having a large fruit harvest is the kind of problem that you want to have. There are quite a few different things that you can do with your fruit to ensure that none of it goes to waste. Find what works for you, and enjoy a bit of summer far into the year. The fun thing is that you can experiment with several different options for storage to find what works the best for you.