It’s still cold outside and fresh fruit won’t be growing locally for months. Don’t despair! Fruit that has traveled a long distance can’t match locally grown fresh fruit in flavor or nutrients, but frozen fruit can come a close second. Since it’s flash frozen at the peak of ripeness, frozen fruit often tastes better and retains more of its vitamins than the fruit that has been shipped in from far away.
But thawing that frozen fruit and eating it with a spoon might not be your favorite idea. Frozen fruit doesn’t have the same texture as fresh, so it’s not the same as a crisp apple or tender pear. It might need a little preparation.
Here are five ideas that are actually better with frozen fruit than with fresh.
First, waffles or pancakes are always great with fruit, but frozen berries microwaved for a couple of minutes soften into a warm sauce that stands in beautifully for syrup.
Angel Waffles start out with 4 oz of egg whites from the carton of egg whites you can buy at the grocery store. It takes about a minute to whip them into peaks with your electric mixer. Mix up your regular batter (we use 1 c. milk, 1 egg, 1/3 c. canola oil and 1 c. whole-wheat flour) and fold in the egg whites before pouring into the waffle iron. Your waffles will be light and crisp, even with whole grains. But toaster waffles are a healthier breakfast with frozen berries instead of syrup, too!
Smoothies can be made with practically anything, but frozen fruit will add frosty, fruity goodness to everything from kale and matcha powder to, as in this case, mango and plain yogurt.
Frozen chunks of mango and pineapple mix with orange mango juice, plain Greek yogurt, 1/2 t. of coconut extract, and a bit of fresh ginger. Whip them all up in your blender to bring a bit of the tropics to your morning break.
Frozen fruit makes a nice sauce for meats, too. Since their texture changes a bit in freezing, they’ll settle into a sauce faster than fresh. Chop onions, green peppers, and garlic and simmer in a bit of olive oil till they vegetables are tender and fragrant. Add frozen fruit to suit the meat you’re using and season to taste. Cherries are great with ham, apples are perfect for pork, and peaches create the perfect foil for chicken. Add curry powder and a little cayenne pepper for an exotic flavor.
For breakfast or dessert, try a classic French Clafoutis. It’s traditional to use cherries, but frozen cherries mean no pits!
Spread frozen cherries on the bottom of a baking dish and mix up an eggy batter with 1 cup milk, 3 eggs, 1/2 c flour (almond meal if you’re gluten free), 1/2 t. almond extract, and a little sugar and butter if you want a richer dessert dish. Pour the batter over the fruit.
Bake at 350 till it’s puffed and golden, and just about set in the center — about 35-40 minutes. Serve warm for breakfast or cool and sprinkle with sugar for a vitamin-filled dessert.
The fifth great way to eat frozen fruit? Right from the freezer! Enjoy bite-sized berries and grapes as a cool treat any time. It’s much better for you than ice cream.