Summer is prime time for fruit. If you are surrounded by a bounty of berries or other summertime favorites that you’d like to use later in the year, freeze them as close to harvest time as possible. To preserve quality and taste, rinse fruit in cool water in a colander and drain well. For fruits apt to brown or darken during freezing, dissolve ascorbic acid in water and then drizzle it over the fruit (or mix it into a sugar syrup if you’re freezing the fruit in one). Berries do best if they are dried and placed on a tray in a single layer, frozen for 30 minutes and then packed into freezer bags or high-quality freezer containers. Peach slices can be prepared the same way, frozen for several hours on a tray and then transferred to containers for freezing.
The freezer has been an increasingly critical tool for chefs in recent months, enabling them to continue to serve up meals to-go for immediate heating or later consumption. It will continue to play a key role in restaurant kitchens as operators look to manage fluctuations in customer demand in the months ahead and extend the use of seasonal produce as it becomes more readily available. To minimize deterioration in the quality of frozen food, make sure your staff handles to-be-frozen foods properly. FoodSafetyConnection advises using freezer bags or freezer paper for storing items, squeezing all air out of freezer bags prior to sealing, allowing hot food to cool prior to freezing, and labeling all frozen foods with the use-by date appropriate for the specific item.