This month's notes: September 2014: Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries tomatoes, corn and most vegetables are being picked in most places; strawberries are finishing or done; Peaches are in and early apples have started. Find a local blueberry festival and blueberry picking tips here. See how easy it is to make strawberry jam or strawberry-rhubarb jam! Make your own homemade strawberry ice cream including low fat, low sugar and other flavors))  Have fun, eat healthier and better tasting, and save money by picking your own locally grown fruit and vegetables, and then using our easy canning and freezing directions!

Organic farms are identified in green!  See our guide to local fruit and vegetable festivals!. Please tell the farms you found them here - and ask them to update their information!!

Bookmark and Share Subscribe to our: Email alerts Follow us on Twitter  Add this page to your favorites! - Email this page to a friend, or to yourself


Freezing Cantaloupes, Honeydew, Watermelons and Other Melons: Easy, Fully Illustrated Step-by-Step Directions and Recipe to Make Home Frozen Melon Balls!

Cantaloupes, watermelons, honeydews, and other melons are easy to freeze.  You've probably seen them in the grocery store's freezer case or had them in a restaurant.

Here's how to do freeze the melons, with or without sugar!

 

Ingredients

  • Melons: fresh Cantaloupe, Crenshaw, Honeydew, Watermelon, etc. 
  • Sugar (optional - but it does help retain color and flavor better and longer)
  • Water

Equipment

  • Ice cream scoop - if you want to make melon balls
  • Knife
  • Freezer containers or freezer bags
  • Freezer

Step by Step Directions

Step 1 - Choose and prepare your cantaloupes

Cantaloupes should be selected as fully ripe (but not overripe) fruit. This is accomplished by selecting fruit by looking for

  1. stem separation from the fruit;
  2. thick, coarse and corky netting or veining which stands out on the surface; and
  3. yellowish-buff, yellowish-gray, or pale yellow skin color between the netting.
  4. A ripe cantaloupe will also have a pleasant cantaloupe odor when the stem scar is held under the nose.
  5. The stem scar will also yield slightly to light pressure.

Avoid cantaloupes and melons that appear to be overripe. The indicators of overripeness are: a pronounced yellow rind color, softening over the entire rind, and soft, watery and soft, mushy flesh.

Cantaloupe pieces need to be syrup packed but do not need to be treated to prevent discoloration. The procedures to freeze cantaloupe are outlined below.

Step 3 - Prepare the syrup

You will need a cold 30 percent sugar syrup. You can use some honey instead - see the footnotes. To make the syrup, dissolve sugar in lukewarm water, mixing until the solution is clear. Chill the syrup before using. Here are syrups to freeze melons:

Type of Syrup Percent Syrup Cups of Sugar* Cups of Water Yield of Syrup
in Cups
Very Light 10% 1/2 4 4 1/2 cups
Light 20% 1 4 4 3/4 cups
Medium 30% 1 3/4 4 5 cups
Heavy 40% 2 3/4 4 5 1/3 cups
Very Heavy 50% 4 4 6 cups

* In general, up to one-fourth of the sugar may be replaced by corn syrup or mild-flavored honey. A larger proportion of corn syrup may be used if a very bland, light-colored typed is selected.

Step 3 - Cut up the melons

Cut the melons in half, remove seeds and rind. Cut melons into slices, cubes or balls. An ice cream scoop is great for making balls.

Step 4 - Fill containers

Pack into containers and cover with syrup. If you are not using syrup, just fill the containers!

Step 5 - Add the Syrup (Optional, but recommended)

Use just enough cold syrup to cover the prepared fruit after it has been placed in the container (about 1/2 to 2/3 cup of syrup per pint). To keep fruit under the syrup, place a small piece of crumpled parchment paper or other water-resistant wrapping material on top, and press fruit down into the syrup before sealing the container, or use ziploc freezer bags, so you can squeeze out air and seal.

Step 6 - Seal and freeze

Seal the containers (leave some empty headspace IF you are using rigid containers that could break).  If you are using a vacuum sealer (which works great) freeze the bags unsealed (but obviously upright) then seal them after they have frozen overnight..

Step 7 - Label the bags or containers!

"Sharpie" marking pens work well on plastic and won't rub off.

 

Step 8 - Done!

Pop them into the freezer, on the quick freeze shelf, if you have one!

Later, when you are ready to serve the corn, just thaw them in the fridge!


Additional Recipe: Mixed Fruit Freeze

(Serves 8)

  • 2 lbs. cantaloupe, peeled and cubed
       (about 5 cups)
  • 1 c. seedless red grapes
  • 1 banana, cut into chunks
  • 1 peach, peeled, cut into chunks
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 c. lowfat (2%) milk
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c. apple juice
Place all ingredients except apple juice into a large mixing bowl. Using a potato masher, mash all fruit and liquid into a well-blended, pureed mixture.

Cover mixture with foil. Place in freezer 30-40 minutes, until firm.

Remove fruit freeze from freezer. Run warm water around bowl to loosen frozen mixture. Remove fruit freeze from bowl. Cut into 2-inch chunks. Place the fruit chunks in a mixing bowl. Add 1/4 cup apple juice. Use an electric mixer and beat mixture until very creamy, about 3 minutes. Repeat with other half of fruit chunks and remaining apple juice.

Nutritional Analysis (per serving): Calories:136; Protein:1.9 gm; Carbohydrates:32.9 gm; Total Fat:0.826 gm; Cholesterol:1.14 gm; Dietary Fiber:1.54 gm; Vitamin A:382 RE; Vitamin C:54 mg; Calcium:36 mg; Potassium:512 mg; Sodium:19.6 mg; Diabetic Exchanges: 2 1/3 Fruit

 


All About Home Canning, Freezing and Making Jams, Pickles, Sauces, etc. ] [FAQs - Answers to common questions and problems] [Recommended books about home canning, jam making, drying and preserving!] [Free canning publications to download and print]