Get the goodness of fruit all year long.

When freezing fruit, always know what the intended use for the fruit will be. Most fruit will have a better texture and flavor if packed in sugar or syrup, but sugar is not necessary to safely preserve fruit. If you intend to pack fruit in sugar or syrup, choose the type of packing method that best fits your intended use. Read Extension's Guide to Freezing Food and watch this short video on the supplies you'll need for freezing foods.

How enzymes work in fruits

When freezing fruit, adding one of the chemical compounds below can help control enzyme activity, which can lead to browning and loss of Vitamin C.

  • Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C): Ascorbic acid is effective at preventing discoloration in most fruits and must be used in powder form. Purchase Ascorbic acid where freezing supplies are sold.
  • Ascorbic Acid Mixtures: These are special anti-darkening preparations, consisting of a mixture of Ascorbic acid, with sugar and citric acid.
  • Citric Acid and Lemon Juice: Although both citric acid and lemon juice can be used, these are not as effective as Ascorbic acid and may mask the natural fruit flavor.

Sugar pack

Fruits packed in granulated sugar or unsweetened are best for cooking purposes because it results in less liquid. Sugar pack is ideal for peaches, strawberries, figs, deseeded grapes, plums, and cherries. Small, whole fruit may be coated with sugar and frozen.

Sprinkle sugar over fruit and gently mix until the juice is drawn out of fruit and sugar is dissolved. For soft, sliced fruits, layer slices with sugar and allow to stand for 15 minutes.

Syrup pack

Fruits packed in syrup are generally best for uncooked desserts. A 40 percent syrup pack is recommended for most fruits; however, the proportion of sugar to water will depend upon the sweetness of the fruit being frozen. Lighter syrups are recommended for mild-flavored fruits to prevent masking of natural fruit flavor. Heavier syrups are recommended for very sour fruits.

Making syrup pack

  • Dissolve sugar in lukewarm water, mixing until the solution is clear.
  • Chill solution before covering fruit.
  • Cover fruit with just enough syrup.(Approximately ½ to ⅔ cup solution per pint.)
  • When using a rigid container, place crumpled parchment paper or other water-resistant wrapping material on top of fruit solution.

Measurements for syrup pack

Very Light Syrup

  • 10% of Syrup*
  • ½ Cup of Sugar**
  • 4 Cups of Water 
  • Yields 4-½ Cups of Syrup


Light Syrup

  • 20% of Syrup*
  • 1 Cup of Sugar** 
  • 4 Cups of Water
  • Yields 4-¾ Cups of Syrup

Medium Syrup

  • 30% of Syrup*
  • 1-¾ Cups of Sugar** 
  • 4 Cups of Water
  • Yields 5 Cups of Syrup

Heavy Syrup

  • 40% of Syrup*
  • 2-¾ Cups of Sugar** 
  • 4 Cups of Water
  • Yields 5-⅓ Cups of Syrup

Very Heavy

  • 50% of Syrup*
  • 4 Cups of Sugar** 
  • 4 Cups of Water
  • Yields 6 Cups of Syrup

*Approximate percent.
** Up to ¼ of the sugar may be replaced by mild-flavored honey or corn syrup; however, this may affect the color and flavor of fruit.

    Options for freezing unsweetened fruit

    Unsweetened pack: Packing fruit for freezing in water or unsweetened juice may result in products having a softer texture and a duller color. Fruits will freeze harder and take longer to thaw. This method is ideal for fruits such as:

    • Blueberries
    • Cranberries
    • Currants
    • Gooseberries
    • Raspberries
    • Steamed apples

    Dry pack: This method is ideal for small whole berries that will result in a good quality product without sugar.

    • Pack fruit into container, seal, and freeze.
    • To prevent clumping, place fruit in a single layer onto shallow tray and freeze.
    • Once frozen, remove from tray, pack in freezer-safe packaging, and return to freezer.

    Pectin syrup: This unsweetened pack method is ideal for fruits that retain their texture better than if frozen in just water or unsweetened juice. Fruits such as strawberries and peaches freeze well in pectin syrup.

    How to make pectin syrup:

    • In a saucepan, combine 1 box of powered pectin and 1 cup of water.
    • Bring to a boil, and boil for 1 minute.
    • Remove from heat.
    • Add 1-¾ cup water, and let cool.
      Yields 3 cups of moderately-thick syrup.

    References

    Andress, E. L., Harrison, J. A., & Reynolds, S. J. (2014). So Easy to Preserve (6th Ed.). Athens, GA. Cooperative Extension, University of Georgia/Athens, College of Family and Consumer Sciences, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

    Andress, Elizabeth. Preserving Food – Freezing Prepared Food: updated June 2014 - Nation Center for Home Food Preservation – University of Georgia

    Zepp, M. (2018, May 3). Understanding the Process of Freezing