Ready or Not #94: Storing Fruit

I have written about storing your vegetables and having them available in your food storage. To round out your well-balanced nutrition intake, this week I will discuss how to store your fruits. There are basically three ways to store fruit in your food storage for times that you can’t have fresh fruit.

The oldest way of storing fruit is to dry it, or buy it already dried. There isn’t a fruit that I have tried dried that I haven’t liked, except bananas – I don’t like dried bananas, but most people do. My favorite is dried cranberries and mangos. Dried fruit can be reconstituted to make pies (e.g. apples, peaches or cherries) or you can chop them up and throw them into cereal or just eat them as is. Just remember to drink a lot of – what? – that’s right, WATER! (2 gallons, per person, per day for a two week period).

Unlike canned vegetables, I love canned or bottled fruit. One of my favorite memories is when I was a little girl sitting around the table with my Grandpa Liston eating bottled cherries and spitting out the pits. Bottled or canned fruits last for a very long time and you can use them just like you would fresh fruit. In Denmark, they like to take canned peach halves and lay them face down on a large platter, slice a half-gallon of ice cream into one inch layers and then start layering them – first the peaches, then the ice-cream, peaches, ice-cream, until it is all gone. They would serve this at parties or family get-togethers. It tasted wonderful.

The last way that you can store fruit is in the freezer. I buy frozen fruit at Sam’s Club that is really good. You are supposed to set a bowl of the fruit in the fridge to let it thaw out, or put it in the microwave for about a minute or two. I like to eat it when it is still a little frozen; it is very refreshing and tasty. The grapes are wonderful and so are the pineapple and peaches. The only thing that I don’t like is the frozen strawberries after they have thawed out because they get kind of mushy. However, when they are frozen, I love them. I used to freeze a lot of strawberries and, when my kids wanted a cold, slushy type drink in the summertime, I could just throw a bunch of frozen strawberries in the blender with some milk and a little bit of sugar┬áto make instant, healthy strawberry shakes. I also did the same with frozen bananas and peaches. Sometimes I even mix the fruit up and make a delicious combo shake.

When you freeze your fruit, lay them on a plate or cookie pan and freeze them individually so that they won’t stick together when you put them in a container to store. After they have frozen, put them in an airtight bag or container and use them at will.

You can also freeze your bananas and make them into yummy treats. Peal the banana, stick a popsicle stick in the end and dip into either yogurt or chocolate (you know my preference) and roll in nuts or grape-nuts or crushed cookies or anything else that sounds good. Wrap them up in cellophane wrap and freeze.

The big thing that you want to remember is to look for sales and then take advantage of bumper crops to help your food storage grow – whether frozen, dried or bottled.

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