Freezing Fruits and Vegetables for Smoothies and Juicing

By Pat Crocker

Freezing fruits and vegetables when they’re at their peak is one of the easiest ways to preserve them for use in juices and smoothies later. If you grow or pick your own or purchase fruits and vegetables when in season and in quantity, you can save a considerable amount of money in the winter, when the same produce is being transported from warm climates.

Using frozen fruit in smoothies makes the drink thick and icy cold. You can partially thaw fruit and vegetables before juicing them and the result will be thick and creamy. Here is the best way to freeze the most common fruits and vegetables.

Berries

To freeze berries, such as blackberries, blueberries, currants, raspberries, and strawberries, follow these steps:

  1. Wash, hull, or de-stem the berries and dry.

  2. Place them in a single layer on baking sheets and freeze them for one to two hours.

  3. Measure 1- or 2-cup amounts into freezer bags, label the bags, and freeze.

    Store for up to three to six months.

Stone fruit

To freeze stone fruit, such as apricots, cherries, mangoes, nectarines, peaches, and plums, follow these steps:

  1. Wash, halve, remove the stone or pit, and cut into smaller pieces.

  2. For each cup of light-fleshed fruit (like peaches or mangoes), toss the pieces in 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.

  3. Place in a single layer on baking sheets and freeze for one to two hours.

  4. Measure 1- or 2-cup amounts into freezer bags, label the bags, and freeze.

    Store for up to three to six months.

Tree fruit

To freeze tree fruit, such as apples, bananas, citrus fruit, guavas, kiwifruit, medlar, or pears, follow these steps:

  1. Wash, peel (if citrus or bananas), quarter, remove the core, and cut the quarters in half.

  2. For each cup of fruit, toss the pieces in 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.

  3. Place in a single layer on baking sheets and freeze for one to two hours.

  4. Measure 1- or 2-cup amounts into freezer bags, label the bags, and freeze.

    Store for up to six to nine months.

Vegetables (hard)

To freeze hard vegetables, such as beets, carrots, celery, onions, parsnips, peppers, rutabaga, turnips, or winter squash, follow these steps:

  1. Wash, pat dry, and cut into 1- or 2-inch pieces.

  2. Measure 2- or 4-cup amounts into freezer bags, label the bags, and freeze.

    Store for up to 9 to 12 months.

Vegetables (medium)

To freeze medium vegetables, such as asparagus, beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, or peas, follow these steps:

  1. Wash, trim, sort, or cut into uniform sizes.

  2. Leave whole or cut into 2-inch lengths.

  3. Blanch in boiling water for 3 minutes and then plunge into cold water for 3 minutes.

  4. Pat dry and place in freezer bags, label the bags, and freeze.

    Store for up to six to nine months.

Greens

To freeze greens, such as beet greens, collards, kale, mustard greens, spinach, Swiss chard, or turnip greens, follow these steps:

  1. Remove tough stems and imperfect leaves.

  2. Blanch in boiling water for 2 minutes and then plunge into cold water for 2 minutes.

  3. Pat dry, coarsely chop, and place in freezer bags; label the bags; and freeze.

    Store for up to four to six months.