The Best Reasons For Freezing Foraged Fruits

by Sarah - Craft Invaders

With the fantastic hot weather we have been having this year in the UK all the signs suggest that it’s going to be a bumper year for many of the wild fruits. Freezing foraged fruits is the easiest, most convenient and least time-consuming way to store them. Properly frozen fruits will retain much of their fresh flavour and nutritional value.

Freezing foraged fruits is the easiest, most convenient and least time-consuming way to store them. Properly frozen fruits will retain much of their fresh flavour and nutritional value.

Like many people, the kids and I love to forage. Foraging is simply searching for, and collecting wild food. There are many good reasons to forage. Wild foods are far more nutrient-dense than commercially produced crops, and the meals in our hedgerows are what our ancestors evolved to eat, making them essential for our health. Foraging also allows us to learn, and pass on our knowledge, as well as giving us a closer connection with the natural world around us.

A quick summary of the legality of foraging in the UK…

Freezing foraged fruits is the easiest, most convenient and least time-consuming way to store them. Properly frozen fruits will retain much of their fresh flavour and nutritional value.
  • It is illegal to uproot ANY wild plant without permission
  • Iit is unlawful to disturb or collect plant material from any PROTECTED wild plant
  • It is illegal to trespass, so you must gain approval before foraging on private land

Common sense also says that if you entirely strip an area of wild food, you will damage that habitat, so only collect where food is bountiful, and just take reasonable amounts.

Only collect and eat a wild food that you are 100% sure you have identified correctly. Be aware of what goes on in the area that you are harvesting from. Plants near busy roads may be absorbing emissions from vehicles. If nearby fields are sprayed with pesticides, chances are some will make their way onto wild plants too. And if watercourses are polluted, your native plants will be drinking that water.

Freezing foraged fruits is the easiest, most convenient and least time-consuming way to store them. Properly frozen fruits will retain much of their fresh flavour and nutritional value.

We are very fortunate, as the farmer who owns the fields near our house is always happy for us to forage on his land. I’d recommend still popping round with a jar or bottle of whatever you make, – its a great way to build up a good relationship!

Freezing foraged fruits is the easiest, most convenient and least time-consuming way to store them. Properly frozen fruits will retain much of their fresh flavour and nutritional value.

So why should you try freezing foraged fruit? In the Autumn we collect Crab-Apples, Blackberries, Damsons, Sloes, Hawthorn Berries, Elderberries, and Rose-hips. I have learned over the years that if I wait until I have a clear couple of days to collect the fruit and process it all, I end up missing the crop altogether. So now I merely pick the fruit when the mood takes me, and then stick it in the freezer whole until I am ready to use it.

Freezing foraged fruits is the easiest, most convenient and least time-consuming way to store them. Properly frozen fruits will retain much of their fresh flavour and nutritional value.

Freezing foraged fruits is one of the easiest, most convenient and least time-consuming ways to store them. Properly frozen fruits will retain much of their fresh flavour and nutritive value. Their texture, however, may be somewhat softer than that of fresh fruit, this is because of the process of freezing damages the structure of the cell wall.

This may seem like a negative factor until you consider what you are likely to be using your foraged fruit for. If you look at recipes for winemaking, sloe gin or rose-hip liqueur, many of them will tell you to pick your fruit after the first frost. They will tell you that you will get a sweeter, more flavoursome result. In other words, the colour and flavours will infuse into the preserve more readily due to the damage to the cell wall. This means you are getting more out of your fruit.

Freezing foraged fruits is the easiest, most convenient and least time-consuming way to store them. Properly frozen fruits will retain much of their fresh flavour and nutritional value.

Freezing foraged fruits stores them ready to be used for baking, making juices, jellies, jams, fruit spirits and wines. With Sloes, it means you don’t have to faff about sticking pins into them, and with rose hips, you won’t need to mince them up before making jelly or cordial. Freezing the fruit affords you the luxury of being able to make your preserves when you are ready to make them. If blackberries are available, but you’re not… freeze them!

Another advantage of freezing foraged fruits is that you often won’t have enough fruit to create an entire batch of whatever you are planning to make. Not all fruits come into season evenly. Freezing the fruit allows you to hoard until you do have enough to make a full batch.

Freezing foraged fruits is the easiest, most convenient and least time-consuming way to store them. Properly frozen fruits will retain much of their fresh flavour and nutritional value.

For some fabulous ideas on ways to use your foraged fruits, please check out our recipes for Fruit Leather, Rose Hip and Crab Apple Jelly, and our Fruit Liqueurs.

Freezing foraged fruits is the easiest, most convenient and least time-consuming way to store them. Properly frozen fruits will retain much of their fresh flavour and nutritional value.

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16 comments

Mike September 21, 2019 - 6:11 pm

Great advice about gathering little and often and sticking it in the freezer. Gets my vote every time.
I planted raspberries a year ago and they give me some fruit but not enough to do anything with in one go. Freeze them and HELLO after a month i have enough to make jam!
Happy days!

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Sarah - Craft Invaders September 24, 2019 - 9:19 am

Thanks Mike, freezers really are so handy 🙂

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Chloe October 11, 2015 - 8:55 pm

Wow what a beautiful place to go foraging. You’re so lucky the farmer lets you pick there. It looks like there really is plenty of fruit to choose from. I love your tips, we go foraging a lot for berries and leaves and always make sure we know where we’re picking and that we’re away from busy roads.

I’ve never thought to freeze what we collect though, but that’s a brilliant idea. I really want to try my hand at making jams and gin though. It’s on my bucket list for autumn/winter. Thank you so much for sharing this on #whatevertheweather x

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Sarah October 12, 2015 - 11:05 am

The hedgerows are beautiful around where we live, we’re lucky the farmer does so little with them! Preserving food is such fun, and sticking things in alcohol makes a great present – we do it every year. Last winter we even tried making lichen vodka as an experiment – the best I can say about it is that it is an acquired taste, dont think it’ll be on the list again! Thanks for having us on #Whatevertheweather x

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Jenny Eaves October 9, 2015 - 7:02 pm

This is great, thank you! I keep forgetting to freeze fruit, I really need to try harder as I can’t decide what to make and then by the time I do it’s too late! Will definitely start freezing foraged fruit (a bit of a tongue twister?!).
Thanks so much for linking up to #Whatevertheweather 🙂 x

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Sarah October 9, 2015 - 7:29 pm

Oh we could start doing Craft Invaders Tongue Twisters – what a fab idea! Fruit goes over so quickly after you pick it (especially as ofc we all pick the perfectly ripe ones) so freezing it is ideal. Thanks for having us on #WhatevertheWeather x

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