Learn how to freeze fruits and vegetables to preserve their freshness for months to come.

By Allrecipes Editors
Updated March 04, 2021
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When fruits and vegetables are in season, that's when they taste the best and usually cost the least. That's why it's a good idea to learn how to properly freeze fruits and vegetables so you can enjoy their flavor and freshness long after the season's over. Read on to get tips for freezing, storing, and thawing fruits and vegetables.

Quick Tips: How to Freeze Fruits and Vegetables

Blanched Asparagus in Ice Water Bath
Credit: Meredith
  • Choose produce that's ripe and unblemished.
  • Before freezing vegetables, blanch and shock vegetables by boiling them briefly, drain, then plunge into ice water. Dry thoroughly. Why blanch and shock? Blanching prevents enzymes from damaging color, flavor, and nutrients. Blanching also destroys microorganisms that might be lingering on the surface of produce.
  • Freeze fruits and vegetables quickly by spreading them in a single layer on a rimmed sheet pan.
  • When the produce is frozen solid, store in air-tight containers or freezer bags. Fill hard-sided containers to the top and remove as much air as possible from freezer bags. Be sure to date the packages.
  • Fruits and vegetables freeze best at 0 degrees F or colder.

How to Freeze Fruit

  • Wash fruits and set aside damaged fruit. Some fruits freeze best with a sugar or sugar-syrup preparation. Blueberries, currants, and cranberries do fine without sugar.
  • To freeze delicate berries like strawberries or raspberries: Arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Once frozen, transfer to a plastic freezer bag or container. You can also prepare delicate berries with sugar or sugar syrup.
  • For fruits that tend to brown, like apples, peaches, nectarines and apricots, treat with ascorbic acid (Vitamin C). Look for the powdered form in health food stores, drugstores, and some grocery stores in the vitamin aisle. To make an ascorbic acid wash: Dissolve 1/2 teaspoon of ascorbic acid powder (or finely crushed vitamin C tablets) in 3 tablespoons water. Sprinkle this mixture over the cut fruit. An acceptable substitute: Slice the fruit and dip the slices in an acidulated water bath — about one quart water plus a tablespoon of lemon juice — before drying and freezing.

How to Freeze Vegetables

  • Vegetables that hold up well to cooking (corn, peas) generally freeze well.
  • To freeze vegetables, first blanch them briefly in boiling water. Then quickly submerge the vegetables in ice water to prevent them from cooking. Dry thoroughly on paper towel-lined sheet pans. See more on how to blanch and shock vegetables.
  • Freeze vegetables quickly by spreading them in a single layer on a rimmed sheet pan.
  • When the produce is frozen solid, store in air-tight containers or freezer bags. Fill hard-sided containers to the top and remove as much air as possible from freezer bags. Be sure to date the packages.

Packing Produce for the Freezer

Frozen peach slices in freezer bag
Credit: Blaine Moats/Meredith
  • The key to packing fruits and vegetables for freezing is to keep moisture inside the package and air outside. Contact with air can cause changes in flavor and color. Pack fruit and vegetables in air-tight containers or moisture-proof, heavy-duty freezer bags, and force out as much air as possible. Wrap freezer bags in heavy-duty foil and seal with freezer tape. Stay away from plastic sandwich bags, which are not heavy-duty enough.
  • A few hours before adding food to the freezer, set the freezer to its coldest setting. And don't overload the freezer (it will slow the freezing process).

How Long Will Frozen Produce Last in the Freezer?

Frozen tomatoes in freezer bags
Credit: Jason Donnelly/Meredith

Store frozen fruits for about a year; vegetables, about 18 months. (Storing longer is fine, but the quality may decline.)

Thawing Frozen Fruits and Vegetables

Fruit salad with strawberries, apples, grapes, and blueberries
Credit: France C

Most vegetables can go directly from freezer to boiling water, though corn does best when allowed to thaw a bit first. Fruits are best when allowed to thaw at room temperature. Delicate berries can turn mushy when thawed completely, so consider using them before they're thoroughly thawed, such as for baking, in smoothies, or as a topping for ice cream or yogurt.

When frozen, the water in fruits and vegetables expands, causing ice crystals to puncture and break cell walls. As a result, some fruits and vegetables tend to get mushy when thawed. To reduce the amount of cellular damage, freeze produce as quickly as possible: Colder temperatures produce smaller ice crystals, which do less damage to cell walls. The "mushy factor" is also why we recommend using frozen fruits before they have completely thawed.