It must be spring. I know this because the first farmers’ markets are opening. Also, I’m down to a single freezer full of berries from last summer’s bounty.
By this time of the year, the fall and winter storage apples are getting a little soft, and in many parts of the continent the first fruit of the season has yet to appear on store shelves. This is the time that I rely most on the fruit that’s in my freezer. It’s also the time of year when I discover if I planned properly. Did I buy enough blueberries this year, or has my family been more enthusiastic than usual munching on them? What’s with all of those raspberries that are still waiting in bags, ready to be used?
If you’re lucky enough to have some extra fruit in your freezer this time of the year, what can you do with it?
1. Freezer Jam
I love soft, fresh, sweet-tart raspberries. I’m not nearly as fond of the frozen kind. Although the rest of my family professes to be fond of them, they don’t really eat them. I’ve cut back on the berries that I buy, but there’s one reason I still buy them: jam. Raspberry freezer jam is so simple to make. All you need is sugar, raspberries, and freezer jam pectin. I usually skimp on the sugar and add more berries, making a looser jam that’s perfect for pancakes.
2. Perfect Pies
Blackberry or blueberry pies in April? Why of course, thank you! If you have plenty of berries in the freezer, allow yourself the luxury of a homemade pie. One tip: if you’re making a pie to eat soon, thaw and drain the berries before they go in. Freezer berries are less firm than fresh ones and pies can end up being very juicy if you add the berries when they’re frozen. You can also add more cornstarch or other thickener to the inside of the pie to compensate a little for the additional juice.
It’s potluck, thank the coach, thank the teacher season – the season for making end of the school year homemade gifts. A crisp, crumble, or cobbler made out of apples is lovely, but add some extra berries to make it even more special. My favorite? The blackberry-apple crumble. Strawberries and blueberries also go well with apples. As with the pies, make sure that you account for the additional juice.
4. Summer Smoothies
While the winter’s chill is still in the air, whip up a delicious smoothie full of the taste of summer. I like combining freezer raspberries with pear and celery to create a fresh taste, or I add a banana and cinnamon to my strawberry smoothie to make it taste like cinnamon hearts. Blueberry smoothies and smoothies made from other dark fruits like blackberries are the perfect place to hide spinach and kale.
I have a Ninja Master Prep that I used for smoothies. It chops up the ice and frozen fruit with no problem. The kids and I love smoothies. ~Jendi
5. Breakfast for Dinner
A fruit salad is a quick and easy way to use up fruit, and adding a lot of summer fruit gives more flavor to those plain apples and pears. I rarely have time to make a big fruit salad in the morning, so my favorite time to eat more complicated breakfast foods is on the weekend or for dinner. What a delicious way to use that fruit!
How do you enjoy your freezer fruit?