In the beginning (1973), Carl Sontheimer, an engineer who loved to cook, created the Cuisinart food processor. Not long after that — well, okay, fifteen years later — I created frozen fruit whiz.
As a rule, I'd never opt for frozen fruit over in-season ripe fresh fruit, but individually quick frozen (IQF) fruits, prepared commercially or in your own kitchen, frozen at the peak of ripeness, retain almost all of their nutrient value. IQF fruit is 100% natural, with no added sugar or preservatives. It's trimmed and washed, and economical to use. Take what you need, and leave the rest in the freezer. To IQF at home, wash and trim fresh fruit and spread out on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze completely, then transfer to zip-loc bags.
I love to mix frozen fruit into fresh fruit salad. The juices from the frozen melt over the fresh (try this with frozen strawberries and fresh honeydew), creating a beautiful sauce. Add a squeeze of lime and some fresh mint leaves.
Here's another idea: with frozen fruit on hand, why not set up a batida bar for summer parties? To make this Brazilian "smoothie", combine in a blender 2 oz cachaça, rum, or tequila; 1/2 cup fresh or frozen strawberries (or any frozen fruit you have on hand); 2 oz sweetened condensed milk; 1-2 tsp sugar; and 1 cup of ice. Latin markets are a good source of frozen tropical fruits like guava and passion fruit.
For the cachaça-free set, try this fruit whiz, a sugar-free dessert that's thick as ice cream, healthy as can be, and as colorful as you want to make it.
Bananas give this dessert the consistency of ice cream; you'll never miss the fat. Serves 6.
2 large ripe bananas
juice of one lemon
2/3 cup unsweetened frozen strawberries or raspberries, UNTHAWED
1/2 cup unsweetened apple juice, chilled
Slice bananas and toss with the lemon juice. Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet, and freeze until firm (30 minutes or more). In a food processor fitted with metal blade, add frozen bananas, strawberries and cold juice and process until smooth, scraping sides of processor bowl as necessary. Serve immediately, or spoon into serving dishes, or wine or parfait glasses, and freeze up to 1 hour.
1. Layer with, or top with, fresh seasonal berries, cut peaches or nectarines, or crumbled ginger cookies.
2. Substitute for apple juice: cranberry juice cocktail or unsweetened grape juice.
3. Substitute for frozen berries: frozen melon or pineapple.
More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Pink yink ink drink
Other recipes that use frozen fruit:
Almost instant frozen fruit yogurt, from Fat Free Vegan Kitchen
Frozen fruit cups, from Just Bento
Berry banana smoothie, from Simply Recipes
Frozen mango dessert, from Andrea Meyers
Triple berry French toast, from Culinary in the Country
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