University of Missouri Extension

GH1507, Reviewed June 2003

Quality for Keeps: Freezing Unusual Fruits and Vegetables

Barbara J. Willenberg
Associate State Food and Nutrition Specialist

Fruits and vegetables, including many unusual produce items, that were once available only "in season"; are now available year round in supermarkets. If you're lucky enough to have an excess, freezing is an excellent way to preserve fruits and vegetables for later mealtime enjoyment.


Citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruit)


Select firm, tree-ripened fruit heavy for its size and free from soft spots. Wash and peel. Divide fruit into sections, removing all membranes and seeds. Slice oranges if desired. For grapefruit with many seeds, cut fruit in half and remove seeds; cut or scoop out sections.


Shred fresh coconut meat or put it through a food chopper. Pack into containers and, if desired, cover with coconut milk. Leave head space, seal and freeze.


CranberriesChoose firm, deep red berries with glossy skins. Stem and sort. Wash and drain.


Select full-flavored, ripe huckleberries. Wash, drain and discard immature or defective berries. Preheat in steam for 2 to 3 minutes to tenderize the skin and improve the flavor.


Select plump, ripe kiwi fruit that yield to gentle pressure when squeezed. Wash, peel and slice.


Choose firm, tender, well-colored stalks with good flavor and few fibers. Wash, trim and cut into 1- or 2-inch pieces or in lengths to fit the package. Heat rhubarb in boiling water for 1 minute and cool promptly in cold water to help retain color and flavor. Drain.



GarlicGarlic can be root-cellared for several months in cool, dry conditions. The flavor of garlic may become stronger when frozen. It also is difficult to package garlic so that other foods stored with it do not pick up its odor or flavor. Keeping these shortcomings in mind, garlic can be frozen using one of these methods. Blanching is not necessary.

Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes)

Select young, medium-size sunchokes. Peel or scrape and wash.

Water blanch 3 to 5 minutes depending on the size. Cool, drain, pack into containers, seal and freeze.


MushroomsSelect medium and small mushrooms with white, tight caps; prepare and freeze the same day as picked or purchased. Handle carefully to prevent bruising; wash well in cold water and drain thoroughly. Do not soak. Cut off the base of the stems and sort for size. Leave whole, slice or quarter. Mushrooms should be blanched or steamed before freezing. An alternate method is to sauté mushrooms in butter or margarine before freezing.


Select firm, crisp pimentos of deep red color. Peel by roasting in 400- to 450-degree F oven for 3 to 4 minutes or until skins can be rubbed off. Wash off charred skins, cut out stems and remove seeds. Pack into containers, seal and freeze.


Select young, medium-size rutabagas. Cut off tops, wash and peel.

Spaghetti squash

Leave squash whole and pierce so steam can escape, or halve and remove seeds. Bake in an oven or microwave oven, or steam on top of the range until tender. Cool quickly by placing pan in cold water. Cut in half and remove seeds if necessary. Rake through pulp lengthwise with a fork to separate strands. Pack into containers, seal and freeze.

Sprouts (alfalfa, mung, chickpea, soybean, etc.)

Choose crisp, young sprouts. Wash and remove seed coats.

Heat one layer at a time in steam for 3 minutes. Cool, drain, pack into containers, seal and freeze.

Only an expert should attempt to identify and harvest wild mushrooms. Although many wild mushrooms are edible, others are poisonous. For help in identifying wild mushrooms, check with the Missouri Conservation Commission.


GH1507 Quality for Keeps: Freezing Unusual Fruits and Vegetables | University of Missouri Extension

Order publications online at or call toll-free 800-292-0969.

University of Missouri Extension - print indicia