Apricots (Prunus Armenian) are very nutritious and low in calories. Apricots have many health benefits like improved digestion and eye health. They are loaded with vitamin A, also known as retinol. They are also very rich in fiber whether it is taken dried or fresh. Apricots only last for about 1 to 3 days before going bad. So, how can you preserve this health benefit loaded nugget from going bad?
Can you freeze apricots? Yes, you can. Freezing apricots is a simple way to prolong the lifespan of the fruit. Frozen apricots can last for up to 12 months in the freezer. Keeping its quality and optimal taste.
Frozen apricots can be used in a variety of recipes. They range from smoothies to cobblers or fruit leathers. The process of freezing them is so easy and fun that you could engage your kids. Apricots, if properly frozen, would last for about 12 months but, it is best to consume them before then in order to enjoy the best quality.
How to Freeze Apricots
Apricots can be frozen in different ways:
- Dry Freezing Apricots
- Freezing Apricots in Syrup
Dry Freezing Apricots
Apricots can be frozen with their skin on. The skin would not affect recipes like smoothies or fruit leathers. However, apricots can not be frozen with the seeds as the seeds can make the flesh bitter over time. In easy steps, here’s how to dry freeze apricots.
Step 1: Preparing the Apricots
Fruit selection is very important, as picking the right fruit would guarantee the best results. Pick ripe fruits and avoid overripe ones. A ripe apricot will indent when you press it, but it should not be overly soft.
You also need the apricots to be sweet. Smell the area around the stem, you should get a sweet-smelling scent. After picking the right fruit, the next thing to do is to wash them. Wash the apricots in 3 parts water and 1 part vinegar, this helps to kill off germs or bacteria. Rinse thoroughly and pat down to dry.
Step 2: Destoning the Apricots
This step applies to stony fruits like cherries and plums. With your kitchen or paring knife, slice the fruit into half, working around the pit. Twist the two halves loose before removing the pits with your hands or scooping it out with a spoon.
You can leave the halves as they are or slice them into smaller sizes or quarters. Apricots might blacken during the freezing process, so coating the slices with a little bit of ascorbic acid would prevent them from blackening. But in order to preserve the flavor, you can coat the slices with sugar.
Step 3: Pre-freezing
The destoning process will make the fruit mushy. Going ahead to freeze in this manner will result in the slices of fruit clumping together. This might not be a problem for some, but it hinders measurement and could be quite a mess upon thawing.
Get a baking sheet and line it with parchment or wax paper, that is to prevent the fruit slices from sticking to the sheet. Spread the slice individually with enough space between them and leave in the freezer for the better part of the day, or overnight.
Step 4: Storage
Pack the half-frozen slices of fruit into Ziploc bags or airtight freezer bags. Expel excess air from the bags before sealing them up. A vacuum sealer is great kitchen equipment if you freeze things a lot.
With a sharpie, don’t forget to label the contents and mark the bag with the date of the freeze. This will help you keep track of what has been stored and for how long.
Freezing Apricots in Syrup
Freezing apricots in syrup do not have a special effect whatsoever, but it helps to keep the flavor of the fruits and prevent the fruit flesh from darkening.
Step 1: Preparation
Pick unblemished fruits that are in their best condition, wash them thoroughly, then pat them down to dry.
Step 2: Blanching and Peeling
Peeling the apricots by hand is way too much work. So we are going to discuss a technique that works on ripe apricots. Blanching is used in the preservation process of vegetables, it stops the ripening process and slows down enzymatic processes that can make the fruit spoil.
In apricots, the blanching process makes the peel come off easily. Put a pan of water on the fire and let it boil. When the water is boiling over, put your washed apricots, and let them boil for about 30 – 60 seconds. Immediately, remove the apricots from the boiling water, and dip them into ice-cold water. Wait until the apricots are cool to touch, before bringing draining them. The skins would peel off easily now.
Cut the apricots into your desired sizes and remove the pits. Add a dash of lemon juice and mix to prevent the apricot from darkening.
Step 3: Preparing the Syrup
For the syrup, 4 cups of water to 1 cup of sugar should work. Put a pan of water on medium heat, stir in the sugar slowly, and watch it dissolve. Let it boil over, kill the heat, and leave to cool.
Step 4: Storage
For this step, you can use plastic freezer containers. Put the sliced apricots into the container and pour in the syrup till the apricots are submerged in it. Leave some headspace for the expansion that happens upon freezing. Label the container and place it into the freezer to freeze.
How to Defrost Apricots
To defrost your apricots, just set them in the fridge overnight to defrost. Frozen apricots can be used without defrosting.
How to Recognize Spoiled Apricots
The best way to recognize if your apricot is still in good condition is to smell it and check the fruit for signs of mold. Ensure that you discard any fruit with a bad smell or odd appearance.