I don't know how you all feel about summer nearing it's end, but the thing I am most sad about is the huge selection of seasonal fruit which will not be available anymore. I generally try to only each fruit and vegetable which is in season, because it's healthier and also the only decision when you buy organic. One way which I've been enjoying my fruit is by making smoothies and juices. I don't really eat that much during the summer months because of the extreme heat in Cyprus, but one easy way to get my daily dose of fruit and vegetable is smoothies. You can take advantage of all that seasonal produce and stock up, freezing your favourites so that you can continue to make summer smoothies well into Autumn!
Freezing is the easiest and cheapest way to preserve fresh fruit and prevent food wastage. When I grocery shop I make sure to buy a good selection of fruit at different states of ripeness. I buy ripe fruit to eat at the beginning of the week, and unripe fruit to eat later in the week. When I end up with too much ripe fruit at one time, I freeze the excess to use in smoothies and other foods.
Room temperature fruit creates smoothies with a thin juice-like consistency. Using frozen fruit is the secret to creating those super thick, frosty smoothies – the kind that’s perfect for cooling down on a hot summer day! I rely on smoothies a lot in the summer, I load them up with enough nutrient-packed ingredients to make a meal that leaves me feeling satisfied and energized. In the summer I love anything I can eat without turning the oven on!
While freezing fruit is certainly easy, there’s one essential step necessary to keep each piece of fruit frozen individually. You can do this by cutting your fruits into cubes and freeze them flat on a tray. Once individually frozen, you can choose to pack them into ready mixed flavours, or keep each fruit stored separately so you can mix them according to you mood on any given day.
Ideally you want to use fruit that’s perfectly ripe, not overripe. As fruit becomes overripe it contains fewer and fewer nutrients.
- Start by washing and/or peeling your ripened fruit.
- Remove any imperfections or bruising as necessary. Cut larger fruits into pieces small enough to blend.
- Grab a cookie sheet, cutting board, or something else that you can leave in your freezer for a few hours. Line it with a piece of plastic wrap, wax paper, or parchment paper.
- Arrange your chopped fruit on your cookie sheet and place it in the freezer, making sure that it’s secure and level so it won’t move or fall if the freezer door is opened.
- Freeze overnight.
- Once your fruit is completely frozen, you can transfer it into an airtight freezer bag or container for storage. As long as you don’t let your bag of fruit thaw at all, each piece of fruit will stay as individual pieces. Most frozen fruit is best used within 6 months.
There’s no limit to which types of fruit you can create smoothies with. I always try to keep some frozen bananas on hand as they do an excellent job of making smoothies with a thick, creamy texture. Some of my other favourites are:
- mangoes (a good substitute for bananas)
- berries: strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries
- stone fruits: peaches, nectarines, cherries
Smoothies: For thick and creamy smoothies, blend together 1 cup of liquid with 1 cup or more of frozen fruit. Plant milks are your best bet for creamy smoothies, try soy, almond, hemp, flax, or oat milk for best results. Fruit juices and coconut water are great options too. For an extra creamy and luscious smoothie, be sure to include some banana in the mix.
Smoothie Bowls: Really thick smoothies made with lots of frozen fruit make a great base for smoothie bowls. Serve a thick smoothie in a chilled bowl and top with a combination of fresh chopped fruit, nuts, seeds, granola, and super foods like hemp hearts, chia seeds, buckwheat groats, or cacao nibs.
Oatmeal: Frozen berries are especially great for topping oatmeal. Alternatively, you can also mix them into the oats while they’re cooking to thaw them quickly.
Parfaits: Vegan yogurt parfaits are an ideal place to use frozen fruit. Simply layer your favourite vegan yogurt into a cup or small jar, add 1/3 of frozen berries, and leave in the fridge until the berries thaw. Serve with 1/2 cup of granola. This makes a perfect snack or breakfast on the go!
Dessert Topping: Gently warm frozen fruit in a saucepan over medium heat. Add a touch of organic cane sugar (or your preferred vegan sweetener: coconut sugar, agave, brown rice syrup, etc.) Use the warm mixture to serve over a simple dessert like vegan ice cream.
Via I Love Vegan