Frozen fruits are perfect for basically any occasion: breakfast, a snack, in a smoothie, a healthy dessert... the possibilities are truly endless.
While most nutritionists say that nutrient damage from freezing is very minimal, it's important to note that (depending on the water content of the fruit) the loss of certain antioxidants like beta-carotene is possible during the freezing process. As a general rule, you can expect fruits with water content less than 90% to be nearly or completely exempt from such nutrient loss.
Freezing fruits yourself at the peak of ripeness may actually slow the ripening or decay process, maintaining the levels of certain healthy nutrients, like vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. In fact, the pre-packaged frozen version may be no worse than the fresh, which will often experience some nutrient loss during its trip from farm to grocery store.
The most noticeable difference between frozen and fresh fruit is texture. During the freezing process, the water inside the fruit's cells expands as it freezes, which sometimes causes cell membranes to swell or burst, resulting in a softer texture when the fruit is thawed. The solution? Eat the frozen fruit when it's still frozen (so refreshing), coat it in chocolate or pop it in a blender, in which case the texture won't make a difference.
I'm #teamfrozenfruit all day every day, but it works better for some fruits than others. Try out these six, and you'll be well on your way to frozen fruit bliss.
Water content: 74%
Frozen bananas are not only delicious, but are also a great way to preserve and get additional use out of overly ripe bananas. If you're looking for a healthy dessert alternative, try banana "nice" cream, a simple version of "ice cream" that has only one ingredient: frozen bananas.
As a fruit with a relatively low water content, most (if not all) of the nutrients present in bananas will be reserved during the freezing process. Remove the peels before freezing to make them much easier to eat once frozen.#SpoonTip: Cover frozen banana bites in chocolate and peanut butter for an extra decadent frozen treat.
Water content: 81%
Admittedly, I'm not a huge fan of regular grapes, but when frozen, they transform, becoming much sweeter and taking on an almost ice cream-like texture.
Grapes are notorious for being a high-sugar fruit, but at only 62 calories per cup, they pale in comparison to a "small" late-night snack, like a single cup of Ben & Jerry's Cookie Dough Ice Cream (540 calories). For the best frozen grape experience, choose green instead of red because red grape skin takes on a not-so-pleasant taste during the freezing process.
Water content: 85%
I didn't think anything could be more refreshing than blueberries until I discovered the Holy Grail: frozen blueberries. Stick to the frozen variety, and never again will you have to suffer through the pain of out-of-season berries (read: mushy or flavorless).
You can buy them in gallon bags, but I personally recommend freezing them right in the carton. If you already have them on hand, it's less expensive and it also does not require you to dirty any dishes or containers, which is a plus for any college student.
#SpoonTip: Sprinkle a little bit of sugar on your frozen blueberries for an extra burst of sweetness that will perfectly match the tanginess of the less-ripe ones.
Water content: 84%
Frozen mangos are especially great for making smoothies that turn out creamier and less watered-down (because you don't need to add in separate ice cubes). You can buy mangos already prepped (peeled and cubed) in the frozen food section of the grocery store.
When you remove the mangos from the freezer, allow them to thaw for a few minutes before digging in--they have a tendency to become very hard in the freezer.
5. ClementinesWater content: 86%
While I enjoy fresh clementines, sometimes I find that they're lacking in flavor. When frozen, every bite tastes like a less-artificial Dreamsicle. Similar to bananas, remove the peel before freezing so that you have easy access to the newly frozen goods.
#SpoonTip: If you're looking for something a little more indulgent, dip the frozen clementines in melted dark chocolate. You won't regret it.
Water content: 87%
Frozen raspberries melt in your mouth like a Hershey's kiss. Pop them in a blender with a little sugar and a splash of almond milk and you've got yourself an insanely easy raspberry sorbet. Again, like blueberries, you can put the carton directly into the freezer to save yourself from washing any additional dishes.
Honestly, there are few things better than coming home to the sight of a fruit-filled freezer. Frozen fruit is hands down the easiest, healthiest and most scrumptious way to #treatyoself. Remember, though, to stick to low-water-content fruits for better flavor, texture and overall nutrient content.