My favorite part of summer is fruit.

Peaches, apricots, strawberries, and perhaps my favorite — sour cherries.

Yes, I know you can buy fruit year round in the grocery store. And while I admit that it’s nice to be able to buy a pint of berries in the middle of a cold, blistery day, there is no denying that those grocery store berries are nothing like the ones that come from the farmer’s market in the summer.

Something that happens to me often is I buy too many. A giant box of peaches or 20 lbs of cherries (yes, I actually bought this many cherries and had to beg a friend to let me store them in her deep freezer in exchange for some pies) means a race to eat them.

Because many fruits have a short window in which they are good, preserving them is an important skill.

I like to make jams, so that’s one way, but the freezer is definitely the way to go.

Of course, you can’t just throw a bunch of fruit in a plastic bag or container and throw in the freezer. You can, but when you’re ready to eat you’ll end up with a block of fruit ice instead of individual pieces.

The solution is an easy one — spread the fresh fruit (make sure its prepped — washed, pitted, chopped if necessary) on a sheet pan in a single layer. Pop the pan in the freezer until solid, then transfer to a container. That way, your pieces will be single easily portionable, but still delicious. This works for any fruits and veggies too, and even for cookie dough balls, brownies, and cubes of bread.

Next time you want to make a pie or cobbler, your fruit is ready to go.