When you’re faced with a glut of tangelos, or perhaps just a few that won’t get eaten before they spoil, know that with appropriate preparation and storage techniques, you can preserve the fruit or juice, and its peel, in the freezer. It might be tempting to just throw whole tangelos in the freezer, but these tangerine-grapefruit hybrids are easy to peel and the whole preparation process is simple enough to do properly. The sweet taste and juicy texture of the fruit will be preserved for future use in desserts, smoothies and snacks.
Segments and Slices
The first step in preparing tangelos for freezing is to peel them. Then, with a sharp paring knife, slice the tangelo segments out, leaving the membranes and any seeds behind. Hold the tangelo over a bowl to catch the juice, and slice along the inner edge of each membrane to release the individual segments. You should be able to easily slide the segments out of their membranes after slicing. Rotate the tangelo in your hand as you work. Squeeze the remaining membranes over the bowl to get the last of the juice before discarding. Leave the segments whole or slice them into smaller pieces ready for freezing.
Sugar, Syrup and Storage
Citrus fruits are best preserved in the freezer by packing them in 40 percent syrup, according to the National Center for Home Food Preservation. Make 40 percent syrup with a ratio of 2/3 cup sugar to 1 cup of water or juice. Use juice collected in the bowl you placed under the tangelos while you cut them, combined with water or other citrus juice to make enough to cover all of your tangelo pieces. Stir the sugar into the water or juice until it’s dissolved, heating the mixture on the stovetop if necessary. Add ½ teaspoon of ascorbic acid per quart of syrup to best preserve the flavor and color of the tangelos. Ascorbic acid is available in pharmacies and canning supply stores. Lemon juice is an adequate alternative -- soak the fruit pieces for two minutes in water infused with 3 tablespoons of lemon juice per quart, then drain before packing with syrup. Place the tangelo pieces in your container, cover with syrup and leave a little room at the top for expansion as the contents freeze. Any nonmetallic containers with close-fitting lids will work. Once frozen, tangelos will keep in the freezer for four to six months.
Freezing Tangelo Juice
If tangelo juice will be more useful to you than tangelo pieces, prevent waste by freezing the juice instead. Use a citrus juicer or electric juicer, optionally sweeten the juice with 2 tablespoons of sugar or honey per quart and add ¾ teaspoon of ascorbic acid per gallon of juice. Freeze the juice in sealed containers with a little room at the top for expansion.
Freezing Zest and Peel
Tangelo zest and peel is easy to freeze and retains its strong flavor and fragrance even after thawing. And freezing the zest and peel cuts down on waste when you are also preparing to freeze the fruit itself. Wash and dry the tangelos, then pare off strips of peel – making sure there’s no white pith under the strips – with a sharp knife or vegetable peeler, or zest them with the fine side of a grater. Transfer the peel or zest to freezer bags, squeeze out the air, seal and place in the freezer. When you want to add some citrus flavor to baked goods, desserts or salad dressings, remove the zest or peel from the freezer about an hour before you need it.