Buying frozen fruit is a great way to get nutrients without worrying about fruit spoiling. Frozen fruit is also a great way to enjoy berries and other treats when they’re out of season without compromising on price and freshness.
One of the best uses of frozen fruit is in a smoothie. Just toss fruit in a blender with milk and other ingredients and you get a delicious, nutritious breakfast or snack.
However, making a smoothie becomes difficult without a blender. Most frozen fruit recipes assume that you have a blender, even though they can be expensive and unwieldy, particularly in small apartment kitchens.
Just because you don’t have a blender does not mean that you can’t enjoy frozen fruit—or even have a smoothie. Here are a few ideas on enjoying frozen fruit even without specialty equipment in the house.
Making a Smoothie Without a Blender
Making a smoothie without a blender requires a bit more work (and is a bit more of an arm workout) but it is possible, even with frozen fruit.
First, you’re going to want your frozen fruit to thaw until it is room temperature and the texture has softened. This does mean that you cannot immediately enjoy your smoothie as soon as you take the fruit out of the freezer, but a little extra patience is worth it to avoid buying specialty equipment just to make a smoothie.
If you want your fruit to thaw quicker, take it out of the freezer and put it in a bowl of cold water. You shouldn’t use tepid or hot water for food safety reasons. Once your fruit reaches room temperature, it may be mushier than fresh fruit, but that is actually preferable for smoothie-making.
Then, take your thawed frozen fruit and put it in a glass jar or bowl. Use a spoon or a whisk to mash the fruit until it is a puree. Your smoothie will probably still have larger chunks of fruit in it than if you used a blender, but it will still work.
Add whatever protein you are using to thicken the smoothie, such as yogurt or peanut butter, and a splash of your favorite liquid base. Since your fruit will be mushier than usual, you will probably need less milk or water than you would normally add.
Finally, if you want your smoothie to be colder or have that trademark foaming texture, put it in a jar and shake with ice.
Making a smoothie with frozen fruit without a blender requires some advanced planning and is a little more labor-intensive, but you can still enjoy a fruity pick-me-up without specialty equipment.
The problem with thawing frozen fruit and trying to use it as if it were fresh is the texture. Frozen fruit has a much higher water content due to its production process, so it is mushier than fresh counterparts once it thaws.
However, one way that you can use thawed frozen fruit despite its different texture is to make compote.
Compote is a jam-like fruit topping made with whole fruits. Its texture is different from other fruit spreads such as jam and jelly because the fruit is coarsely chopped instead of blended, so the final product is chunkier. You may not be able to spread it on bread, but you can use it as a topping for waffles, pancakes, and more.
To make compote out of frozen fruit, thaw it first. Then, roughly chop the fruit you are using. You can use everything from berries to cherries (frozen bananas may not work well because they don’t have enough juice).
After that, toss the chopped up fruit into a pot along with some lemon or orange juice. Cook the fruit until the mixture boils, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for an additional 10 to 12 minutes, all the while mashing the fruit with a spoon.
Once you remove the compote from the heat, taste it and add any additional flavorings that you like. If the fruit is too tart, add a few spoonfuls of sugar, or add some cinnamon for depth of flavor.
Once you’ve made compote, you can serve it immediately or store it in your fridge for up to a week. It’s a great way to make use of the unique texture of thawed frozen fruit instead of complaining about it.
Use your compote for sweet brunch dishes or as a way to add flavor to overnight oats. You can even add just frozen fruit to your oats, as long as it is thawed out.
Make a Frozen Dessert
Sometimes, the best thing that you can do with frozen fruit even if you don’t have a blender is to make use of its strength and unique features. Instead of thawing it or frustrating yourself by trying to chop it up while it is still frozen, just serve frozen fruit while it is still chilled!
You’ve probably heard of chocolate-covered strawberries and bananas, but did you know that you can make them with frozen fruit?
Frozen fruit may be easier to work with since it is colder so the chocolate will set faster and you won’t have to worry about it melting. Just make a chocolate ganache using chocolate and hot milk or cream and dip your frozen fruit into it.
You can wait for the fruit to thaw slightly before serving, or take it straight out of the fridge and put it on ice cream.
Using Frozen Fruit in Baking
Even though frozen fruit has a mushier texture than fresh fruit, you can still use it in baking recipes. You’ll just need to add an extra step.
First, you will need to thaw the frozen fruit before adding it to your batter. Then, be sure to drain it carefully. Otherwise, the higher liquid content will affect the texture of your final dessert.
You should also be careful when you make this substitution. Using frozen fruit instead of fresh is fine when the fruit is incorporated into the treat, for example in a muffin recipe. However, if the fruit is intended to be the centerpiece of the dessert, for example in a strawberry shortcake, then frozen fruit might lead to disappointing results.
Alternatives to Blenders
If you’re making a recipe and it calls for crushing frozen fruit into a blender, keep in mind that there are other ways to get finely macerated fruit.
You can mash fruit with a fork or even a potato masher once it thaws a little.
If you can’t afford to get a full blender but still want some of its benefits, a small stick or immersion blender can be less than $25. It can be a useful addition to your kitchen repertoire and makes it even easier to create smoothies out of frozen fruit.
No Blender? No Problem
You can still find plenty of uses for frozen fruit even if you don’t have a blender at home. Thaw it and use it to make compote or muffins. Or, serve it frozen as an ice cream topping or covered in chocolate as a sweet treat.
You can even make smoothies out of frozen fruit without a blender. Just thaw it first and use a spoon or potato masher to mash the fruit, then manually shake to add protein and liquid.
You don’t need expensive equipment to enjoy year-round berries and other frozen fruit!