Nothing like a little O.C.D. with your project to get you wound up!
SO: it’s fruit season in this hemisphere: gotta make hay while that sun shines! The non-fresh-fruit season is entirely too long in my humble opinion. Freezing is the best way to preserve any fruit’s nutrients if you can’t eat it fresh. But like anything, freezing has an expiration date: it is best to eat all frozen fruit within six months of freezing it.
We *love* fruit smoothies around here. In point of fact, smoothies are the primary way we eat our fruit in the off-season. I make our own kefir and yogurt, and it’s very easy to just run downstairs with the blender and grab a handful of frozen berries to whiz up for a treat.
Strawberries, cranberries and blueberries freeze wonderfully “dry,” that is, by themselves. Cherries do too but one should pit them beforehand as trying to do it afterward leads to a wad of cherry mush in your hand. The best way to handle these berries is to get fruit at its absolute height of freshness, wash, stem and sort them and place them on cookie sheets. As you can see one can go a little nutty with the sorting part. Stick them in the freezer until hard then bag them up, squeezing as much air out of the bags as possible. You’re now able to open the bags at will this winter and grab what you need, leaving the rest behind.
I also slice fruits like peaches and nectarines and strawberries and coat them with a bit of honey before bagging them up. You could also cover sliced fruit with a bit of sugar or superfine sugar. Coating them with a sweetener tends to help them retain their color and their flavor. Making a syrup of one part honey to four parts hot water also works well: the fruit is stored “wet” this way and keeps most of its flavor and nutrients intact. And indeed one can freeze mashed or pulped fruit “wet” too, without sugar.
You know, most thawed fruit is but a pale simulacrum of its fresh self, so for the most part all my frozen fruit ends up in smoothies or cooked items. I also treat freezing as a form of suspended animation if I have a huge harvest (like, the 30 pounds of cherries from last Saturday) that I can’t get to immediately: pulling out the bag to make jam or baked goods is a true time-saver. And I am always looking for more time….