Freezing fruit, specifically cherries and blueberries
I'm hoping stock up on sour cherries while they are still available and blueberries while they are still cheap so that I can make fruit dishes in the coming months. However, I have a couple of questions about freezing these fruits.
1. I know that you are not supposed to wash blueberries before you freeze them. However, many recipes that I use which can accommodate frozen berries recommend that you add the berries frozen to the recipe, rather than allowing them to thaw. My question is, when exactly do I wash them if I am supposed to keep them frozen? Should I just give them a quick wash with very cold water and then coat them with flour so that ideally they'll be both clean and frozen when added to the recipe?
2. I have never frozen cherries before but hope to do so. Should I wash them before freezing? I'm assuming that just like blueberries the answer is no, but perhaps these are different. Should I pit them before freezing? Should they, like blueberries, be added to the recipe frozen unless otherwise called for?
Blueberries and cherries are hardier than fruit like raspberries, so they can handle being washed without deterioration.
Sour cherries (or at least the variety I bought 7 quarts of this summer) have a different kind of pit than sweet ones. The cherries are softer and are more of a slip-pit, so I found them really easy to pit by just squeezing the cherry until the pit popped out. I could pit a quart in about 15 minutes. I think a pitter would have squashed them.
I dumped each quart into a colander, rinsed them, then pitted them directly into a gallon ziploc. I spread the cherries out in a single layer in the bag, sealed it and lay them flat in the freezer (my apt. freezer isn't big enough to fit a cookie sheet). I now have 6 bags of these all stacked up for future use and the cherries aren't clumped together.
I recently froze a bunch of blueberries by washing them, a rinse really, in a colander and then spreading them out on a 1/2 sheet pan lined with paper towels. I then placed them in front of a fan because I'm impatient. After they dried off a little I put the pan in the freezer. After that I bagged them with a foodsaver.
I always wash berries and cherries before freezing. But I also drain well and dry with dish towels. Then I put them in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze - this way they don't stick to each other - when frozen solid, transfer to a bag or other container.
For cherries, yes, wash and pit then freeze as above. A cherry pitter is well worth the $8 to $10. If you don't pit them now, they will be mushy and hard to pit when they thaw.
Frozen fruit is wonderful to have around to throw into pies and crisps, clafouti, for making smoothies, etc, etc.
re: Junie D
Thanks for the advice about the cherries. I actually purchased a pitter last year but I might get a different one this year as I didn't "love" that one (it wasn't the traditional metal one that kind of resembles a can opener but was instead this plastic one called a cherry chomper or something).
I've always avoided washing the blueberries before freezing because that's what my Mom always drilled into me. But, perhaps this time I'll try washing them first but will make sure to drain and dry them well before freezing them in a single layer. Thanks again!
re: Junie D