August 20, 2013
Summer Freeze, ME Newsletter, Vol. 6, Issue 34
Finally, the wonderful towards-the-end of the summer usual light breezes, low humidity, sunny days are here. Weeks of summer rain, storms, days that eerily remind us of mid-October when the sun sets earlier and the sun rises later, almost had me convinced the season would pass us by. If I could freeze these perfect, sweet days and savor them later, I would.
For some reason, the fruit seems sweeter this year, the vegetables more robust. My gardener friends tell me the opposite is true. Some seedlings drowned, some were overcome with mold and rot. Still, there are plenty of garden goodies being shared: cucumbers, zucchini, corn, musk melon. I’ve been buying boxes of ripe fruit from Costco. Washing, drying; some require slicing. It’s a process; a bit of a labor of love, and requires at least an overnight. Separated as best possible, readied whole blueberries, pitted dark cherries, sliced strawberries, nectarines, and raspberries, end up carefully spaced on waxed paper-covered baking sheets. Once frozen, doled into two-portion baggies, and packed into gallon freezer bags.
Yes, the fruits are a bit mushy after defrost. But, for my uses, they suit. Most often mixed into yogurt, blended into smoothies, added flavor for water, and occasionally used in baking. Buying frozen fruit isn’t that much cheaper, and the ripeness prior to freezing is sometimes questionable.
Sure it’s a lot of work. But then, I accidentally discovered that a smoothie of 1% milk, fruit and flax seed, turns into a lovely “ice cream” when refrozen. If the fruit is super ripe and sweet, only two ingredients are required. I let the frozen, sliced fruit sit in the milk for two minutes, until they weren’t as rock-hard. Blend to frothy consistency, placed into a plastic storage container. Freeze uncovered for 30 minutes.
I also tried it with my hand-pitted cherries. Unfortunately, they were tart cherries, so the outcome wasn’t as sweet. I suppose a little sugar, or maybe some Cool Whip, or a few dark chocolate chips would have helped, but I didn’t have those on hand. That would bring down the healthy side of things a bit, but the end results would still far better than store bought or even a traditional recipe. I saw a recipe using frozen bananas and a bit of vanilla flavoring, too. Another item, I don’t have, but may consider making au natural.
When the mornings light up later and the evenings darken earlier, I'll have prolonged my summer season well into winter. Happy to be knowing my summer freeze will make me feel fine, and I'll be savoring these days after all.
My original recipe contained: ½ cup of 1% milk, one thinly sliced, frozen nectarine, and about 1/2 tablespoon of ground flax seed. Nutrition Estimate: Calories 130, Fat 3, Protein 5, Fiber 2.8, Sugars 17. Without the flax seed: Calories 112, Fat 1, Protein 4, Fiber 2.0, Sugars 17
Posted by jaselin at August 20, 2013 07:09 PM