I can’t always keep up with the bounty of berries and fresh fruit I purchase on ambitious whim. When the price is right for copious portions, I pounce just like a tiger with claws and teeth exposed. If everything works out just right, the fruits will be eaten or used in recipes right from their perfect fresh state. But inevitably, we’ll go out of town, or get sick, or forget, or get invited to dinner and those perfect little specimens will begin the process of aging. Luckily, fruit freezes exceptionally well, so you can really get your money's worth. Try to catch it when it's just past it's prime or even a little before. Berries and stone fruits (cut in slices) can be frozen on cookie sheets (to prevent clumping) and bagged later for pies, crisps, and crumbles. Peeled bananas can be frozen in 2 inch segments or whole to be dipped in chocolate or baked in breads . Even pineapple, pears, melons, mangoes, papayas, and apples can be frozen for later usage in sorbets and granitas. And of course, there are always smoothies. Smoothies can be healthful, delicious, and darn right cheap-if you make them at home instead of running to Jamba Juice. For spring, its berry smoothies, but soon I’ll be adding slices of stone fruits as well. But here’s a tip on top of a tip. Make a big batch of any kind of smoothie and freeze the leftovers as creamy fruity popsicles. If you purchase little cups of yogurt, such as La Crème by Dannon, the empty container makes a perfect little round popsicle mold. Plastic or paper cups work well also.
Spring Berry Smoothies and Popsicles
Estimated Cost: $2.00 for a smoothie and two small popsicles
Notes: You can use double the milk and no yogurt, but you will need a bit of extra sweetener. You could also swap out the yogurt for ice cream, sorbet, or sherbet for a dessert version.
I like to reserve a spoonful of yogurt and a couple frozen berries for garnish.
1 and ½ cups frozen berries
Half a frozen banana (optional)
4 ounces vanilla or flavored yogurt (fat free and/or sugar free is fine)
½ cup low fat milk
1 tablespoon citrus juice (lemon, lime, orange, tangerine, grapefruit, pineapple)
1 tablespoon honey, maple syrup, or sugar
Blend all ingredients until smooth, adding more milk if necessary, to desired consistency. Taste and adjust amount of honey or sugar as needed. Pour any extra smoothie into paper or plastic cups. Insert a popsicle stick and freeze. YUM!
* You can make a swirled popsicle by mixing in a couple tablespoons of extra yogurt. You can also add in some whole frozen berries.Favorite variations: Strawberry (or mixed Berry) with Orange and Honey
Blueberry with Lemon and Maple
Raspberry, Banana, Lemon and Honey
Blackberry with Lime and Brown Sugar
The popsicles are a huge hit.
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