How to use your frozen fruit

frozen-berries

 

We have had many calls about food preservation this summer and fall. Many people have chosen to freeze extra produce. I thought it might be good to review the best ways to thaw and use the fruit you have in your freezer.

 

Here are some tips for using frozen fruit:

  • Don’t allow the fruit to completely thaw if you are serving frozen fruit as a dessert. If allowed to thaw completely it will have a mushy texture but if a few ice crystals remain the texture will be much better.
  • According to the National Center for Home Food Preservation frozen fruit can be thawed safely in the refrigerator, in a sealed bag under running water or in a microwave if you are using it immediately.
  • If you plan to use the frozen fruit in baked goods like muffins or bread keep the fruit frozen when adding. If it is thawed the fruit will be soft and the color will bleed into the final product.
  • If sugar was added when freezing be sure and count that when making a baked good. Be sure and mark the packages with amounts before putting them in the freezer.
  • Only thaw the amount that you are needing for a recipe. If too much fruit is thawed you may refreeze it (if it was thawed safely) but the texture will be even softer when you are using it.
  • You can use frozen fruit to make jam and jelly. Thaw it in the refrigerator and measure the fruit and the juice after it is thawed.
  • Use frozen fruit in smoothies instead of adding extra ice cubes. Your drink will contain even more nutrition since you are not watering it down.
  • Frozen fruit will remain safe indefinitely as long as they stay solidly frozen. They will lose quality if they aren’t well protected. Use freezer bags or containers since the more protection you give them the better quality they will be.

Beth Marrs

I graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Adult Home Economics Education. I love to cook and entertain and spend time with my family.

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20 thoughts on “How to use your frozen fruit

  1. If I have had blueberry s in the freezer 2 years will they be safe to eat or make jam etc.?

  2. Hi Myrna. Fruit that has been constantly frozen is safe to eat and use. Depending on how well it was protected in the freezer it could have some frost or freezer burn which is a quality issue not a safety. With anything in our freezer the more protection we give it the better quality it will remain.

  3. I have 1/2 gallon of huckleberries from 2018, frozen since placed in freezer. They look fine but safe?

  4. Al, yes, the huckleberries should be just fine if they’ve been continually frozen, even since 2018. It is time, however, to use them. And, you may find a little frost burn on them depending upon how they have been packaged. Frost burn just alters taste and texture, but does not make them unsafe.

  5. Robert, yes it is still safe unless you detect an off odor, color, or mold. Use it as soon as possible.

  6. I left the last cup of frozen peaches in the bag in the fridge to save time when I had yogurt. Then I forgot to eat yogurt. It could have been a week. I smelled them and they looked same as others that had thawed. I took one bite and it might be off but doesn’t taste bad at all. I guess I won’t eat it after reading about it but if I did what symptoms would I get?

  7. Hi Barbara, you made a good call on not eating the peaches. There is a very good chance that they were moldy (unseen micro spores) or slightly fermented. While moldy or moldy fermented fruit isn’t the most delicious, it’s usually not a detrimental health hazard unless you are of high-risk, elderly, or immunosuppressed. The most likely symptoms or side effects for healthy adults of eating moldy or fermented fruit include nausea, vomiting, gas, and diarrhea–signs of gastrointestinal distress. To always be on the safe side, follow the age-old advice, ‘when in doubt, throw it out.’ Thank you for contacting AnswerLine.

  8. We purchase Berry Cherry frozen berries. Nine servings. Once opened, immediately returned to freezer, how long safe, please?

  9. Hi Ann. Food in the freezer is safe indefinitely as long as it is kept solidly frozen. What happens is the quality goes downhill. The more protection that we provide frozen foods the better quality it will maintain. I would put the package in a freezer zip lock if it fits. That will provide one more layer of protection from freezer burn and ice development.

  10. Hi Beth (great name),

    I’m making Strawberry Jam for the 1st time. My berries are frozen. Do I measure the berries while still frozen and start the cook-down process while still frozen? Or, do I thaw the berries and then measure them and start the cook-down process?

    I can’t help wonder about the water created in the thawing process and would this water affect the recipe. Make sense? Yikes!

    My berries are a year old, but, they look wonderful. I look forward to your reply, Beth.

  11. Hello Beth! If you are making jam using pectin thaw the berries in the refrigerator and measure the amount after they have thawed. Those recipes call for the berries to be crushed then measured so measuring them thawed is important. The total amount of berries and juice needs to be what the recipe calls for. The same would be if you are making the jam without pectin. Measure the total amount of berries and juice after thawing. There is nothing better than strawbrery jam! Enjoy!

  12. Hi I had thawed stewed apple in the fridge with the intention to make a crumble.

    I havnt got round to it and it’s been a couple weeks. I haven’t opened the container but would this still be safe to eat?

  13. Ariana, the apples are no long safe to use. The apples should have been used within 3-4 days after bringing them out of the freezer. Thank you for trusting AnswerLine with you question.

  14. I had fresh blueberries I froze last summer. My fridge died and they were thawed out for 3 days in a cooler with ice Can I still use them or should I throw them out?

  15. If the blueberries still look and smell good they are ok to use. If they are starting to have a yeasty smell, or become very soft and mushy then they should be discarded.

  16. Thank you for wonderful resources and for answering all these important questions.
    I have a question regarding frozen fruit like berries or peaches. I am making a lemonade stand and I heard from one of the vendors that he uses frozen fruit, muddles it with sugar, puts it on ice and then uses it to add to lemonade. Is this safe? How long can this thawed sugar fruit be on ice?
    Thank you for your time and expertise.
    Sincerely,

  17. Hi Sunny, the danger zone for any food item is between 40-140 degrees F. If the fruit mixture is kept below 40 degrees F it should be good for 2-3 days; discoloration is likely due to oxidation, however. This vendor should be carefully monitoring the fruit mixtures with a thermometer to be sure that it is below 40 degrees F. Hopefully, the mixture is also being cover to prevent contamination and the presence of insects.

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