One of my favorite things about summer is the abundance of local, delicious fruit. I realize we live in a world where we can get pretty much any fruit throughout the year. However, it is definitely better and cheaper at peak season. During these times, I usually buy quite a bit of whole fruit, consume most of it and then freeze some for later use. So here are my tips on berries and cherries.
Frozen fruit is definitely not as good as fresh fruit. Water / juice makes up 80-90% of the fruit. During the freezing process, the water expands, causing the cell membranes to rupture. When the frozen fruit is thawed, the juices start to bleed (leak), resulting in watery, soft fruit.
Frozen fruit are great to enhance smoothies, kefir drinks or as toppings for yoghurt, ice cream or chia seed puddings etc. that can be consumed in a somewhat frozen state.
Tips on berries and cherries.
Store bought vs. your own frozen fruit.
In my "previous life", when Starbucks was still a young company, I sourced frozen fruit for their muffins. Those companies now sell their frozen fruit in local markets. These fruit processors use less ripened fruit as they are hardier and hold up to the mechanical process better. As a result, the frozen fruit is not at the peak of its sweetness and taste. I challenge you to do a taste test between your own frozen ripe berries or other stone fruit and those that you purchase in a store!
Although they do sell a special tool to hull strawberries or de-pit cherries, I am a strong proponent of buying multi-functional tools. An inexpensive potato peeler that has a metal pointed edge is one tool that can be used for multiple purposes: peel vegetables, hull strawberries and de-pit cherries.
Insert the pointed metal end into the fruit for hulling strawberries and de-pitting cherries and twist. This avoids using a pairing knife that may cause an accident. You can also use the pointed end of a spoon or fork. See video.
If you don't own a sieve or colander to wash your berries and cherries, and if they come in a plastic container that has holes at the bottom, you can wash the berries directly in the plastic container. Gently shake the water.
Place a folded paper towel on the top of the container and flip the container over for the paper towel to absorb all the water. Store in the refrigerator with the lid and papertowel at the bottom. This eliminates the need for a container to hold the berries. The paper towel will absorb all the excess moisture from the washing while provide some moisture to prevent the berries from drying out!
Hope these tips help!