Fun with Frozen Fruits!
Grocery shopping has taken on a whole new look and it’s not always easy to anticipate how much of everything to buy. Did you accidentally buy more fruit than you can use before it starts to go bad? If so, don’t stress! Most produce can be safely and easily frozen for future (and convenient) use. Avoid those with very high water content as they tend not to freeze and unfreeze well (think cucumbers and watermelon).
A few tips for your fruit freezing adventures:
- Thoroughly wash (as you normally would) and dry fruits prior to freezing. Leftover moisture on the outside can cause freezer burn.
- Once properly washed and dried, prepare the fruit as if you were going to eat it. Remove pits and slice larger whole fruits such as peaches, nectarines, plums and cherries. Remove or cut stems from fruit like grapes, blueberries and strawberries, etc. Remove the outer skins, core and pits from fruits like pineapple, bananas and mango and slice them into smaller chunks.
*Bananas can be frozen, sliced or whole but it’s best to remove the peel first
- Once your fruit is prepped for freezing, lay wax or parchment paper on a baking tray and lay out the fruit in a single layer. Avoid crowding or layering to allow for faster freezing without the pieces sticking together. Place the tray in your freezer, keeping it flat, and allow several hours for it to freeze.
- Once frozen place the fruit in freezer bags, you can store different fruits individually or blend if you plan to use for recipes like smoothies. Label bags with the contents and date and lay flat in the freezer until ready for use. You can layer the bags.
*Note some fruits like sliced apples or nectarines may brown upon thawing – to avoid, consider combining ½ teaspoon lemon juice and 3 tablespoons water and dipping the sliced fruit in the mixture prior to freezing.
Now what do I do with my frozen fruit?
Try a smoothie: In a blender, blend together 1.5 cups low or non-fat plain or vanilla Greek yogurt, ¾-1 cup sliced frozen banana, 1.5 cups frozen strawberries, 1 cup low-fat cow’s or non-dairy milk, 2 tsp honey, grated nutmeg, ice (add ice as you please to adjust the thickness of the smoothie) – Enjoy! *Makes 3 servings **Smoothie recipes are endless! Feel free to experiment with different types of fruit, throw in a handful or greens (kale or baby spinach), add a spoonful of nutbutter or even silken tofu for extra protein, etc.
Yogurt topping: Add atop your favorite yogurt along with some sliced almonds, granola or a drizzle of honey. *You can let the fruit thaw out in the fridge prior to use or add frozen fruit to yogurt and the fruit will slowly “melt” into the yogurt as you eat it
Banana “ice cream”: All you really need is frozen bananas and a blender. Blend up 1 frozen banana or ¾-1 cup sliced frozen bananas until nice and creamy. You can add a splash of your milk of choice for extra creaminess. You can eat right away or scoop the ice cream into a freezer safe container and freeze for 30 minutes for a firmer consistency. Also, try switching up the flavors…
- Chocolate Peanut Butter – blend 2 teaspoons cocoa powder and 1 tablespoon peanut butter with the bananas. Sprinkle with dark chocolate chips and enjoy!
- Vanilla – blend a splash of vanilla extract in with bananas
- Matcha – blend 2 teaspoons matcha powder with bananas. Top with coconut flakes, for serving
- Raspberry – blend 1/4 cup frozen raspberries with bananas. Top with white chocolate chips, for serving
- Mint Chip – blend 1 drop peppermint extract in with bananas. Top with 1 tablespoon dark chocolate chunks for serving
Make a fruit compote – (1st off… what is compote?) Fruit compote is a sauce made from any variety of berry, cherries, pears or apples, that can be eaten on its own, like apple sauce, or to top a huge variety of foods including, oatmeal, ice cream, toast with nut butter, pancakes, waffles, French toast, chia pudding) or cheese and crackers… just to name a few
How it’s made:
- In a medium saucepan, combine 1lb (16 oz) of your frozen fruit of choice, 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup and a dash of salt. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stir occasionally, about 10 minutes for frozen fruit.
- Once boiling, reduce heat to medium. Carefully, mash the fruit with a potato masher or serving fork until it reaches your desired consistency. Continue simmering, stirring often, until the compote has condensed to about half of its original volume, about 5 minutes.
- Remove the compote from the heat and let it cool for a few minutes before serving. Allow leftover compote to cool completely before covering and refrigerating for up to 10 days.
There are so many healthy and delicious uses for frozen fruit. Hope you enjoy!
Written by our Registered Dietitian: Hailey Handzel