If I am craving fruit when it isn't in season, I turn to the frozen fruit section of my grocery store. It is a myth that frozen fruits have less nutritional value than fresh fruit. They are flash frozen at the peak of ripeness, which preserves their flavor and vitamins. In fact, many fruits ripen on the vine before they are frozen which gives them a more intense flavor.
There are many ways you can use frozen fruits in your ice creams and frozen desserts. Thaw the fruit and you can add it to an ice cream base or puree it to turn into sorbet. Or, you can use it to make simple fruit sauces, such as my favorite cherry sauce.
Did you know that the growing season for cherries is very short? In most of the United States, cherries ripen in June and are gone almost as quickly as they arrive. However, like many small fruits, cherries are easy to freeze and they hold up well. I add frozen cherries straight to the pan for this recipe, so there is almost no advance prep needed. Plus, frozen cherries are already pitted which saves time and hassle!
Are you interested in keeping frozen fruit around the house? Check out my top three tips for making the most of your freezer:
Check the ingredients to see if the fruit has added sugar. Some of the less expensive brands add sugar where it isn't needed. If you are cooking with frozen fruit or making sauces with it, skipping brands with added sugar will let you control what goes into your food.
Keep frozen fruit in the back of your freezer and try to maintain the temperature. Properly storing your fruit will keep it from turning into a big block of ice. Like storing ice cream, a consistent temperature is key.
If you find a great deal on fresh fruit, you can always freeze it yourself. Small berries such as blueberries and raspberries freeze easily, while larger fruits can be cut into chunks and frozen. Lay the fruit in a single layer on a metal baking and freeze until solid. Then you can store the fruit in a zip-top bag labeled with the date. Properly stored, it will keep its quality for several months.
Fresh fruit is fantastic, but it also goes bad quickly if you forget about it or don't have time to use it. Sometimes in my busy household, frozen produce is a quick way to reduce food waste as well as to make fun treats.
Image © Kimberly Kunaniec