Freezing temperatures of zero degrees Fahrenheit will effectively preserve young, tender fruit for later use. Although some fruits fare better when frozen whole, apricots freeze better cut into halves or slices. Frozen apricots keep up to 12 months when packed in syrup or sugar inside sealed containers designed for freezer storage. After that time, the apricots are still safe to eat, but taste and texture begin to decline.
Preparing for the Freeze
Apricots require slicing prior to freezing. Wash the apricots in cold water before slicing them in half with a sharp knife. Once the apricot is cut into two half sections, scoop out the center pit with a spoon and throw it away. Cut the apricot halves into smaller pieces, if desired. Remove the skin from the apricot slices by sliding the knife between the skin and the fruit’s flesh. Discard the peel after removal.
Removing the skin from the apricot slices prior to freezing keeps them soft. If you prefer to keep the skin on the apricot slices, boil the fruit to prevent the skin from toughening in the freezer. Carefully place the apricot slices in a pot of boiling water and allow them to soak for 30 seconds. After 30 seconds, remove them with a pair of tongs and transfer them directly to a bowl of cold water to cool.
Preserving Good Looks
When compounds within the fruit mix with oxygen, apricots tend to turn brown. Although the browning is not harmful, it may be unappealing during eating. Soak the cut apricot pieces in a large pot containing 3 grams of ascorbic acid for every 1 gallon of water while you are preparing them for freezing. Ascorbic acid comes in the form of vitamin C tablets and pure powdered form, both of which are available at the grocery store. Rinse the apricots in cold water and drain after soaking.
Pack apricots in heavy syrup to preserve texture during freezing. For a 9-pint load, bring 5 cups of water and 3 1/4 cups of sugar to a boil. Pour 1/2 cup of heavy syrup into the freezer container, add the apricot slices, and then fill the container 1/2 inch from the top with more heavy syrup. Add 3/4 tsp. of ascorbic acid to the container before closing the lid and transferring to the freezer.
Sugar packing is an alternative to packing in heavy syrup. Simply mix 2/3 cup of granulated sugar and 1/4 tsp. ascorbic acid in a large bowl. Add the apricot slices to the bowl and toss, coating with the sugar mix. Allow the apricots to stand until all of the sugar dissolves, and then add the contents of the bowl to freezer containers. Fill each container to 1 inch from the top and seal before transferring to the freezer.