Learning how to flash freeze properly is a skill every home cook should learn. Flash freeze fruits and a variety of other items to extend the life of seasonal produce and make the most out of your time in the kitchen.
I touched on the subject of flash freezing briefly in a recent post for Nutella Stuffed French Toast Sticks and thought it was a subject worthy of looking at in a little more detail. In this post we’ll go through the process with some strawberries and peaches but flash freezing is a great method for a variety of different foods.
What is Flash Freezing?
Flash freezing is the process of freezing individual portions of food so you can use what you need, as you need it. The first part of the process is to freeze the items while spread out on baking sheets. This allows circulation of the air around the items as they freeze so that they won’t stick to each other in the final step of packing them up for freezer storage.
Learning how to flash freeze will help you in a big way with portion control. No more “I’d hate to waste all these cookies. I’d better eat the whole dozen”. Gosh darn it. If you shape and flash freeze your cookie dough, you can bake up smaller batches and keep the rest in the freezer for later. It also allows you to defrost exactly the amount of meat you need on any given night for dinner. Do you ever have those nights you planned for six and end up with just three? This is a common occurrence in my house. I also LOVE to flash freeze homemade pancakes, waffles, and French toast to have on hand in the morning for a quick and easy breakfast.
What Foods can be Flash Frozen?
- Fresh berries and fruits
- Cooked or uncooked meat, meatballs, hot dogs, and sausages
- Baked cookies, muffins, and breads
- Unbaked, shaped cookie dough or dinner rolls
- Pancakes, waffles, or French toast
How to Flash Freeze Fruit and Berries
I believe Boy #4 could drink his weight in smoothies so when I see a good price on berries or other fruits at the peak of their season, it’s time to get to work. There are more intensive methods you can use, and some fruits freeze and thaw better than others, but berries flash freeze beautifully! I’ve also had great success using this easy method with peaches and mangoes. We make our smoothies by throwing frozen fruit directly into the blender without thawing and flash freezing works perfectly for almost any fruit when used for this purpose.
Rinse your strawberries and then transfer them to paper towels to drain.
Peek-a-boo! Blot the tops of the berries with paper towels to remove as much moisture as possible. You don’t want them going into the freezer wet or ice crystals will form.
Slice off the green stem ends and place the strawberries on a wax paper-lined baking sheet.
On to the peaches. Peel and pit them.
Slice them up.
Set them on a wax paper lined baking sheet, making sure there is a little space between each slice.
Transfer the baking sheets to the freezer for at least a couple of hours or more, until the fruit is frozen solid. Just shove that baking sheet in anywhere it will fit. Mine fits comfortably on top of my vacuum sealed meats.
A few hours later you will have perfectly flash frozen fruit ready to be packaged up.
Storing Flash Frozen Food
Once your items have been properly flash frozen they can be packed up together in freezer-safe plastic storage bags or any other airtight, freezer safe containers.
A couple of important notes:
- Always defrost frozen items in the refrigerator or microwave, not on your kitchen counter. This is especially vital for meats and other perishable items.
- For the best quality, you should use most frozen items within three months, except for berries. They will be happy in your freezer for six months or more.
Go freeze somethin’!
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Questions and Reviews
How can I flash freeze cube steaks if I don’t want to cut them up into “fingers”? Should I dust them first with flour or bread crumbs?
Hi Nancy. I would remove them from the store packaging, place them on a foil or parchment paper lined baking sheet and freeze until solid. Then they can be placed in freezer bags and returned to the freezer. I don’t think there is any need to dust them in flour.
but when you thaw the berries won’t they get soggy, that is what I hate
Whenever I freeze fruit (especially strawberries), it just turns to mush when thawed 🙁 🙁 ????
Hi Rhonda. Frozen fruit will not retain the exact texture of fresh when it is thawed but typically berries will fare the best. The method is perfect for fruit you want to use in smoothies or to bake into pies or other desserts since the thawed texture is unimportant for these uses.
Can you do this with vegetables as well??
It depends on what you plan to use them for Jen. If you are going to add the veggies to soups, stews, etc., flash freezing would probably work well enough but the higher water content in some veggies will result in sogginess when they are thawed. There are other methods that can be used to freeze them that will help reduce the soggy thaw issue. Take a look at this post for more information. http://www.examiner.com/article/flash-freezing-vegetables
This is a great tip! We can enjoy summer fruits this way! Thank you for sharing!
Thanks for sharing these awesome ideas and helpful tips, Valerie!