How to Use Frozen Fruit

  • 01 of 09

    8 Great Ways to Use Frozen Fruit

    Frozen Blueberries
    Jamie Grill/Getty Images

    Whether you've frozen berriescherriespeachesplums, or other fruit, you've captured their perfectly in-season ripe flavor. The original texture will be slightly compromised, so frozen fruit works better in baked goods or smoothies than it does out-of-hand or in fruit salads.

    The very good news is other than that fruit salad example, the difference between most things made with fresh or frozen fruit is usually undetectable, and may even fall in favor of the frozen version. I've tested it!...MORE Side by side! How is that? First, frozen fruit is usually frozen at the height of the season. Second, the slight dehydration that naturally occurs in even the best freezing circumstances intensifies the flavor of frozen fruit.

    Note: There is no need to thaw or defrost frozen first - just start cooking!

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  • 02 of 09

    Cakes

    Ginger Rhubarb Cake
    Ginger Rhubarb Cake. Photo © Molly Watson

    Frozen fruit bakes up beautifully in cakes, be they simple sponge cakes with a bit of fruit tossed in, thicker pudding-style cakes laden with fruit, or humble coffeecakes with some fruit.

    Think about it: Freezing rhubarb means you can enjoy this Gingered Rhubarb Cake in the depths of winter. A tray of frozen blueberries in July means you can bake up this Blueberry Yogurt Cake whenever you like. Set aside some cranberries around Thanksgiving and you can tuck into the Maple Cranberry Upside-Down...MORE Cake when the mood hits.

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  • 03 of 09

    Cobblers & Crisps

    Berry Cobbler. Photo © Molly Watson

    Plopping a bag of frozen fruit into a baking pan, mixing in some sugar, maybe a bit of spice and flour, cornstarch, or tapioca to thicken things up, and adding a topping of crumble or biscuit dough before baking it up all bubbling and browning is one of the easiest, homey, and satisfying desserts in all the land. As with cakes and other baked goods, there's no need to defrost the fruit first—just start mixing and baking!

    Try this Basic Cobbler Recipe with any berry (or cherry!).

    And then check out...MORE the basics of a Fruit Crisp.

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  • 04 of 09

    Ice Cream & Sorbet

    Sparkling Pear Sorbet
    Sparkling Pear Sorbet. Photo © Molly Watson

    Fruit usually gets cooked at some point in making the mixture to freeze for ice cream or sorbet; as with baked goods, there's no reason to thaw the frozen fruit first, just add it into the pot—usually with sugar—and cook it, cool it, and freeze it back up!

    A few favorites:

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  • 05 of 09

    Jam & Other Preserves

    cranberry-chutney.jpg
    Cranberry Chutney. Photo © Molly Watson

    Freezing in-season fruit is a great way to put off jam-making if the fruit is ripe during a week when you're too busy to spend time in the kitchen. And making jams and other preserves is a fabulous way to use up a glut of frozen fruit, if you find yourself in such a situation.

    Beyond traditional jams, I like to make more savory, even spicy, fruit chutneys like Strawberry Chutney or Plum Chutney.

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  • 06 of 09

    Muffins

    Strawberry Ricotta Muffins. Photo © Molly Watson

    Much like cakes, frozen fruit—berries in particular—are perfect for stirring into muffin batters. Frozen blueberries, for example, are just as good, if not better, than their juicy fresh counterparts in Blueberry Muffins. And these Strawberry Ricotta Muffins are a great way to use frozen strawberries.

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  • 07 of 09

    Pies & Tarts (and Galettes & Crostadas)

    Blueberry Pie With Lattice Crust
    Blueberry Pie. Photo © Erin Slonaker/Getty Images

    As with crisps and cobblers, there is no need to defrost fruit before using it in your favorite recipe for a pie or tart—or their more free-form counterparts galettes and crostadas. This Peach Pie and Peach Crostada are fine examples, as are this tasty Blueberry Pie and Plum Tart.

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  • 08 of 09

    Sauces & Syrups

    cranberry-syrup.jpg
    Cranberry Syrup. Photo © Molly Watson

    Since most fruit sauces and syrups are cooked, such as the Cranberry Syrup pictured above, so using frozen fruit to make them simply means tossing the frozen fruit into the pot with the sugar to cook. Even in uncooked versions such as this Easy Strawberry Sauce, though, work great with frozen fruit.

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  • 09 of 09

    Shakes & Smoothies

    plum-smoothie.jpg
    Plum Smoothie. Photo © Molly Watson

    The texture of frozen fruit actually helps cool and thicken shakes and smoothies. This Mixed Berry Smoothie and this Cherry Smoothie are great favorites at my house; more adventurous smoothie-drinkers may like this Blueberry Kale Smoothie, perfect with frozen blueberries, or the Plum Smoothie pictured above.