Fresh fruit, healthy and flavorful, can be hard to find in the winter months and hard to afford on a tight budget. Local markets, however, often have great deals on produce, making it possible to stock up on favorite fruits. Freezing fresh fruits is a great way to stretch the food budget and have access to out of season favorites. The most common method of freezing requires using refined sugar. For those who seek a natural, health-conscious alternative, agave nectar is the solution. Harvested from the blue agave plant, this honey-like substance offers healthy benefits without sacrificing sweetness.
Wash and dry fruit thoroughly to remove dirt and chemical residue. When using brand new containers for freezing, wash those with warm, soapy water and dry thoroughly before use.
Prepare agave syrup. Heat 4 cups of water until boiling then remove from heat. Stir in 1 cup of agave nectar until it dissolves completely. This will provide you with lightly sweetened syrup that will not detract from the flavor of the fruit. If you want sweeter syrup, use 2 3/4 cups of agave nectar to 4 cups of water.
Allow syrup to cool completely then add ascorbic acid, according to package directions for the type of fruit you are freezing. Stir very gently to avoid incorporating air into the syrup. Refrigerate syrup until you are ready to package fruit for freezing.
Prepare fruit by peeling, coring or otherwise cleaning off skins, rinds and leaves. After fruit is cleaned, chop or slice as preferred for freezing.
Add fruit to freezing containers, then cover with agave syrup. For pint containers, leave 1/2 inch free (1 inch for quart containers) at the top to allow for expansion of the syrup.
Add labels to the container lids, marking the freeze date on each container. The majority of frozen fruits will last from 8 to 12 months; however, citrus fruits should only be frozen for 4 to 6 months.