I’m a sucker for a bargain and a nerd for IQF. Fortunately these two weaknesses go hand in hand. IQF is an acronym for Individual Quick Freezing, possibly the simplest method of preserving fruit and veggies. With an abundance of both crowding the shelves of the produce department and overflowing in farmer’s markets, the temptation is to buy as much as you can carry.
The peak season for fruits and veggies is shockingly ephemeral; it seems as soon as one fruit is harvested it disappears. Rhubarb comes out in the spring and we go crazy for it. Then it is gone. Same with fiddleheads, asparagus, strawberries, blueberries and raspberries. And as one fruit nears the end of it’s shelf -life, you can often find deals on it and end up buying 2 or 3 times the amount for the same buck.
Enter IQF. Why pay puzzling prices for name brand frozen berries shipped in from who knows where when you can freeze your own at a fraction of the cost? You bought the fruit fresh, you know where it came from.
True, a frozen berry thawed does not have the appeal of a just picked in-season berry, but there is a place for them, in cooking and of course in smoothies and frozen drinks. Adding frozen fruit to your daiquiris and shakes negates the need for ice and your drink won’t get watered down. Prepping fruit and veg for freezing is even kind of fun, especially for the kiddies, and teaches them a little about good food, and good sense.
To IQF your bounty first make sure you have space in our freezer to set a cookie sheet. Cover said cookie sheet in parchment and spread the berries, sliced melon or veggies out; this will keep them from sticking to the tray. Don’t overcrowd the tray; the idea is to let the berries freeze individually. Put it in your freezer. After about half an hour the berries will be frozen solid, much faster than if you were to freeze them all glopped together.
Remove the tray from the freezer and remove the fruit, they will all tumble off individually. Put the fruit into freezer bags and scrunch up the bag a bit to keep them loose. Then back they go into the freezer, ready for you to access, one at a time if you so desire.
Want Prince Edward County Peaches and Cream corn in January, or some delicious Niagara stonefruit in February? Simple remove niblets from the cob with a knife, or stone some peaches and plums, cut into bite-sized pieces and then toss into the freezer. It’s not rocket science.
This is the ideal way to save a bit of the summer to enjoy the rest of the year, with one more added bonus, with your fruit in the freezer maybe those pesky fruit flies will buzz off once and for all!