Fruit Care – specific crops instructions

Note: Plastic bags should be perforated. See general notes for information.

Apples (Cortland/Fuji/Golden Delicious/Macintosh/Red Delicious)

Fresh: Can store at room temperature for a few days but they soften 10x faster at room temperature than in cold storage. Better stored in fridge. Fridges tend to draw moisture from apples so store in a plastic bag or in a ventilated box.

Freeze: Wash, peel and core. Slice for pie, otherwise cut up for intended use. While preparing apples you can put slices in a brine of 2 T salt to 1 gallon of water to prevent browning, but for no longer than 15 – 20 minutes. Drain before packing.  Syrup pack in 40% syrup adding 1/2 t ascorbic acid per quart, if you like. Sugar pack: You can steam slices for sugar pack, 2 minutes, then cool in an ice water bath. Drain, dry, and mix with sugar. Or, mix 1/2 t ascorbic acid with 3 – 4 T of water or juice and sprinkle over fruit before mixing with sugar. Dry pack, tray pack, unsweetened water or juice pack: Mix 1/2 t ascorbic acid with 3 – 4 T of water or juice and sprinkle over fruit before packing. Applesauce  Purée pack: Before packing you can mix in 1/2 t ascorbic acid per quart of applesauce, make sure it’s dissolved before packing. Pack with or without sugar, 1/4 c – 3/4 c sugar, or to taste.

Apricots

Fresh: If unripe, keep on counter away from direct sunlight or, to hasten ripening, in a paper bag with an apple or ripe banana. Just don’t forget about them, or you’ll have legions of fruit flies in your kitchen! If ripe, store in fridge in a plastic bag or in an open container with a towel over all.

Freeze: Wash, halve, pit. Peel and slice if desired. If apricots are not to be peeled, blanch in boiling water for 2 minutes to keep skins from toughening during the freeze. Ice water bath cool and drain. Drain and dry some. Syrup pack in 40% syrup, using 3/4 t ascorbic acid per quart. Sugar pack using 1/2 c sugar per quart of fruit. Mix until sugar is dissolved, adding in 1/4 t ascorbic acid that has been mixed with 3 – 4 T water or juice. Dry pack, tray pack, unsweetened water or juice pack: Add 1/4 t ascorbic acid mixed with 3 – 4 T water or juice per quart.

Asian Pears

Fresh: Can be kept on the counter for a few days. Store in fridge for longer in a plastic bag. Optimal fridge storage is to wrap each pear individually in a paper towel then placing them in a plastic bag (this protects the skin).

Freeze: Wash, peel, halve or quarter, core; slice or chop further if you like. As with apples, you can put the pieces in a brine of 2 T salt to 1 gallon of water for no more than 15 – 20 minutes while preparing the fruit. Syrup pack: Bring enough 40% syrup to cover the amount of asian pears you’re preparing to a boil. Carefully lower pieces in and heat for 1 – 2 minutes, depending on the size of the pieces. Remove pieces from syrup and allow to cool, then pack and cover with a cold 40% syrup to which 3/4 t ascorbic acid per quart has been added. You can also cool the pieces in the syrup and then pack both cooled fruit and syrup in a container, along with 3/4 t ascorbic acid per quart, though this cooling method may render the pieces a little mushy as they will continue to cook some until the hot syrup cools. Tray pack is recommended by experts with reservations. Prepare as above, then toss with 3/4 t ascorbic acid mixed with 3 – 4 T water or juice.

Blueberries

Fresh: Handle gently, blueberries are highly perishable. Before storing, sort through and remove any damaged fruit. Don’t wash until ready to eat or prepping for long-term storage. Blueberries can kept on a cool counter for a day at most. Store in fridge in container they came in, loosely covered or put container in a plastic bag. You can also put them, loose or in their container, in a paper bag.

Freeze: Sort, remove stems and any leaves. Discard immature, overripe or moldy berries. Syrup pack: Wash gently. Steaming blueberries for 1 minute will tenderize skins and make a better-flavored product, but this step is optional. Pack in 30% syrup, adding 1/2 t ascorbic acid mixed with 3 – 4 T water or juice per quart. Sugar pack: Wash gently. Steaming blueberries for 1 minute will tenderize skins and make a better-flavored product, but this step is optional. Mix 1 quart fruit with 2/3 – 3/4 c sugar (or to taste) along with 1/2 t ascorbic acid in 3 – 4 T water or juice per quart. Dry, tray, unsweetened water or juice pack: Don’t wash before prepping and freezing, as this will toughen the skins. If you want you can rinse them while thawing. For water or juice pack you can add 1/2 t ascorbic acid to the liquid.  Purée pack: For crushed or puréed berries, pack with sugar to taste or without, along with 1/2 t ascorbic acid added to fruit.

Cherries (Sweet, Sour)

Fresh: Don’t wash until ready to use. Keep stems on as stems prolong shelf life. Store only unblemished fruit. Store in fridge in a plastic bag or in a ventilated container covered by a towel.

Freeze: Sweet cherries – Sort, wash, stem, pit if you like, halve, too, if you like. Syrup pack: 30 or 40% syrup along with 1/2 t ascorbic acid per quart. Sugar pack: Mix with 3/4 c sugar per quart of fruit (or to taste) along with 1/2 t ascorbic acid in 3 – 4 T water per quart. Dry, tray, unsweetened water or juice pack:  Prep and pack into preferred containers. Purée pack: Pack with sugar to taste or without, along with 1/2 t ascorbic acid per quart.

Sour cherries: Sort, wash, stem, pit if you like, halve, too, if you like. Syrup pack: 50% syrup along with 1/2 t ascorbic acid per quart. Sugar pack: Mix with 3/4 c sugar per quart of fruit (or to taste) along with 1/2 t ascorbic acid in 3 – 4 T water per quart. Dry, tray, unsweetened water or juice pack:  Prep and pack into preferred containers. Purée pack: Pack with sugar, 1 – 1 1/2 c per quart,  or without, along with 1/2 t ascorbic acid per quart.

Grapefruit

Fresh: Can store for around a week on a counter in an open or perforated plastic bag. For longer storage, store in fridge in an open or perforated plastic bag.

Frozen: Peel, removing as much pith and membrane as you can. Section and seed, further cutting sections into pieces if you like. Syrup pack: 40% syrup along with 1/2 ascorbic acid per quart. Sweetened pectin syrup pack: Follow instructions in general info section. Unsweetened pectin syrup pack, water or juice pack: Pack according to instructions in general info section, adding 1/2 t ascorbic acid per quart. Note that the quality of grapefruit packed in unsweetened mode is not as good as syrup pack. Juice pack: Add 2 T sugar per quart of juice if you like, along with 1/2 t ascorbic acid per quart.

Nectarines

Fresh: If not ripe, store on a counter away from sunlight or, to hasten ripening, in a paper bag with an apple or ripe banana.If ripe, store in fridge in a plastic bag or a vented container. If possible, bring to room temperature before eating. Store unblemished fruit apart from blemished fruit.

Freeze: Wash, peel and pit. Best freezing results are achieved if the nectarines are peeled without a boiling water dip usually used to loosen skin for peeling. Slice or chop. Syrup pack: In 40% syrup, with 1/2 t ascorbic acid per quart added in. Sugar pack: Toss a quart of fruit with 2/3 c sugar, adding in 1/2 t ascorbic acid mixed in 3 – 4 T water or nectarine juice. Sweetened pectin syrup pack: Lightly but thoroughly coat pieces, then pack. Dry pack: Combine pieces with 1/2 t ascorbic acid mixed with 3 – 4 T water or nectarine juice. Pack. Unsweetened pectin syrup pack: Lightly but thoroughly coat pieces, then pack. Water or fruit juice pack: Cover with cold water or juice to which 1 t ascorbic acid has been added. Purée pack: Unsweetened or not. If sweetening, use 1 c sugar per quart, or to taste, with 1/2 t ascorbic acid mixed in.

Oranges

Fresh: Can be stored for around a week on a counter in an open or perforated plastic bag. For longer storage, store in fridge in an open or perforated plastic bag.

Freeze: Peel, removing as much pith and membrane as you can. Section and seed, further cutting sections into pieces if you like. Syrup pack: 40% syrup along with 1/2 ascorbic acid per quart. Sweetened pectin syrup pack: Follow instructions in general info section. Unsweetened pectin syrup pack, water or juice pack: Pack according to instructions in general info section, adding 1/2 t ascorbic acid per quart. Note that the quality of oranges packed in unsweetened mode is not as good as syrup pack. Juice pack: Add 2 T sugar per quart of juice if you like, along with 1/2 t ascorbic acid per quart.

Peaches

Fresh: If unripe, store on a counter away from sunlight or, to hasten ripening, in a paper bag with an apple or ripe banana. If ripe, store in fridge in a plastic bag or vented container. If possible, store in a single layer to minimize damage to peach’s fragile skin.

Freeze: Wash, peel and pit. Best freezing results are achieved if the peaches are peeled without a boiling water dip usually used to loosen skin for peeling. Slice or chop. Syrup pack: In 40% syrup, with 1/2 t ascorbic acid per quart added in. Sugar pack: Toss a quart of fruit with 2/3 c sugar, adding in 1/2 t ascorbic acid mixed in 3 – 4 T water or peach juice. Sweetened pectin syrup pack: Lightly but thoroughly coat pieces, then pack. Dry pack: Combine pieces with 1/2 t ascorbic acid mixed with 3 – 4 T water or peach juice. Pack. Unsweetened pectin syrup pack: Lightly but thoroughly coat pieces, then pack. Water or fruit juice pack: Cover with cold water or juice to which 1 t ascorbic acid has been added. Purée pack: Unsweetened or not. If sweetening, use 1 c sugar per quart, or to taste, with 1/2 t ascorbic acid mixed in.

Pears (European)

Fresh: If not ripe, store on a counter away from sunlight or, to hasten ripening, in a paper bag with an apple or ripe banana. Pears are ripe when the flesh around the stem gives to gentle pressure (much like avocados). Refrigerate for a few days only, wrapping each pear in paper to prolong its shelf life. Keep stem in until ready to use (if there is one).

Freeze: Peel, core and slice. Syrup pack: Put pear pieces into boiling 40% syrup for 1 – 2 minutes. Drain, then cool. Pack in cold 40% syrup, using 1/2 t ascorbic acid per quart. Sugar pack: Mix 1/2 c sugar per quart of fruit adding 1/2 t ascorbic acid mixed in 3 – 4 T water or pear juice. Dry pack: Coat pieces well with 1/2 t ascorbic acid mixed with 3 – 4 T water or pear juice.

Plums

Fresh: If unripe, store on a counter away from sunlight and, once ripe, for a couple of days after. After a couple of days, store in the fridge in a plastic bag or vented container.

Freeze: Leave whole or cut in halves or quarters and pit. Syrup pack: Use a 40% or 50% syrup, depending on sweetness of plums, along with 1/2 t ascorbic acid mixed in. Sugar pack: Mix fruit with 1/2 c sugar per quart of fruit, adding 1/2 t ascorbic acid that’s been mixed with 3 -4 T water or juice. Dry pack or tray pack: Mix with 1/2 t ascorbic acid mixed with 3 -4 T water or juice. If freezing whole plums, there’s not need to use ascorbic acid. Purée pack: Cook fruit until thickened adding sweetener or not. Or just purée pitted fruit. Add 1/2 t ascorbic acid per quart of fruit. This method can also be used for plum sauce.

Quinces

Fresh: A ripe quince is mostly yellow and fragrant. If not ripe, keep on a counter away from sunlight. They do not become softer when ripe. If ripe, store in fridge in a plastic bag, though keep one out just for the fragrance they emanate!

Freeze: Can be frozen either raw or blanched. For raw: You can leave whole.  Or peel, halve, core, quarter or slice further if you like. To blanch: Peel, halve, core. Water blanch 2 minutes, steam blanch 3 1/2 minutes. Drain, cool, dry. Save peels and cores and freeze, raw. Put in a cotton bag or wrap securely in cheesecloth and add to quinces when cooking. Sugar pack: Mix a quart of fruit with 1/2c sugar along with 1/2 t ascorbic acid that’s been mixed with 3 – 4 T water. Dry pack: For pieces, mix in 1/2 t ascorbic acid that’s been mixed with 3 – 4 T water. Tray pack: Whole or pieces. Pieces need 1/2 t ascorbic acid that’s been mixed with 3 – 4 T water. Raw, whole quinces can be tray pack frozen, then repacked in containers. Purée pack: For cooked, puréed quince, or for grated or puréed raw quince, sweetened or not, adding 1/2 t ascorbic acid that’s been mixed with 3 – 4 T water.

Raspberries

Fresh: Can keep on a counter away from sunlight for only a few hours. Remove any moldy and damaged fruit. Store in the container they came in (unless mold is on sides) or in another, preferably vented, container. Cover loosely or put container in a plastic bag. You can also put them inn a paper bag, but handle gently if they’re loose. Better to eat them as soon as possible.

Freeze: Raspberries freeze best in syrup. Syrup pack: Use a 30 – 40% syrup, ascorbic acid is optional, but if  using, add 1/2 t per quart of fruit. Sugar pack: Mix with 3/4 c sugar per quart of fruit, plus 1/2 t ascorbic acid that’s been mixed with 3 – 4 T water or juice. Mix gently to avoid crushing. Tray pack: This method is best for pies, use when still partially frozen. Purée pack: Or rather, crushed pack. Crush raspberries and add 1/2 c sugar per quart of fruit, or not, plus 1/2 t ascorbic acid that’s been mixed with 3 – 4 T water or juice.

Strawberries

Fresh: They don’t like to be wet. Don’t remove green cap until ready to use. Can be kept  on counter away from sunlight for a day. Store in fridge in the container they came in loosely covered or with a plastic bag around them. You can also put loose strawberries in a paper bag; check bag for moisture and remove them to another bag if the bag is becoming damp. Better to eat them as soon as possible.

Freeze: Wash in one or two changes of water, don’t allow to soak. Drain. Dry. Hull. Syrup pack: 50% syrup adding optional 1/4 t ascorbic acid that’s been mixed with 3 – 4 T water or juice. Sugar pack: Mix 3/4 c sugar with 1 quart of fruit. Allow to stand 15 minutes. Add 1/4 t ascorbic acid that’s been mixed with 3 – 4 T water or juice. Sweetened pectin syrup pack: Coat strawberries lightly but thoroughly. Tray pack: Best of the dry pack methods. Unsweetened pectin syrup pack: Coat strawberries lightly but thoroughly. Purée pack: Sweeten or not. To sweeten, 1/2 – 3/4 c sugar per quart of fruit, adding 1/4 t ascorbic acid or 1 t lemon juice.