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Soft Fruit- What to Do with It All?

This is part 1 of a two-part series. Find part 2 here.

I bought such beautiful fruits, but a good portion of them became too soft to enjoy before we could finish eating them. I am loathe to throw them out; however, there is not enough for me to make a fruit soup out of them. Any ideas about what else I can do with it all?

Yes, it can be rather upsetting to see our produce go to waste.

Here are some ideas for your soft fruits:
Wash the fruits and take out any pits. Purée them in your food processor or blender. Using a measuring cup with a spout, pour the puréed fruit into ice cube trays. Freeze until solid.

Now you have several options for using this fruit:

1. These make perfect “ice cubes” for cold fruit shakes or cold fruit drinks. When they defrost, they won’t make your shake
watery the way ordinary melted ice cubes do.

2. These cubes make great non-dairy fruit shakes. Put four them at a time into your blender, together with 2 cups of any
fruit juice of your choice, then blend. To make the shake thicker, add one frozen banana, cut into chunks, before blending.

3. Your family can enjoy the frozen fruit cubes as they are; they make a refreshing (and healthful!) treat in hot weather.
However, if you are going to use them as ice pops, I suggest tasting before you freeze them. Sometimes the fruit can become
rather tart when blended. If so, add date syrup (or sugar) according to taste and then freeze. You can put a toothpick into
each cube for easier handling when you want to remove them later on. Or splurge on popsticks, found in all craft stores.

4. You can make fro-yo ice pops out of them. Add some honey and then mix with plain, non-sugary white yogurt. Taste to
ensure the mixture is sweet enough, and then freeze in ice pop containers. These make a great and healthful frozen snack
during the hot summer months.

Healthy and Refreshing Milkshakes

It’s that time of year again when it gets very hot outside and everyone constantly wants something refreshing to sip on. Buying milkshakes or ice coffee in the stores can be very pricey, especially if you are treating a large crowd of your children or grandchildren. Besides, the amount of sugar added in many cases really racks up the calories. Here’s another question I get from readers:

I want to make some kind of milkshakes for my kids but haven’t figured out how to make them that great consistency like the store does. Is there another way to do this, besides having to buy large tubs of ice cream and adding them to my blender with milk?
Do you also have a suggestion for making these healthier, if possible?

Over ten years ago I came up with this “milkshake” idea, mostly because here in Israel, the children are sent home from school between 1-2 pm, the hottest time of day. Couple that with the fact that they have to walk home most often, and are shlepping heavy backpacks on their backs and you get tired, hot, cranky and very thirsty kids coming in your house midday. Mine, especially, were in no mood for a heavy meal then and really appreciated something cold and refreshing.

I never use ice cream. It is expensive, doesn’t work that well for a thick shake, and adds a lot of sugar. I simply use frozen, ripe bananas.

When bananas are cheap, I buy a whole lot of them. I let them ripen to the point that they are delicious and soft, but not totally browned. Then I peel every one of them and freeze them in cheap bags, two at a time. If you freeze them in their peels, it is very difficult to get the peel off easily later on, which is why I freeze them unpeeled. Just one word of caution: bananas have all sorts of things clinging to their outside peels so watch your fingers as you peel them. Check them over briefly to make sure that your unpeeled bananas did not inadvertently become dirty in the process. After that, all I do is place them, bagged and tied, all in one of my freezer drawers, ready for use.

To make my shakes, I then put 2-3 frozen bananas in my blender and add 2 cups of milk. I let it sit for five minutes to soften the bananas somewhat, but not all the way. I cut through the chunks with a knife. If it cuts easily, it can then be blended. Cover the blender, turn it on high and poof—a creamy, delicious, and healthy shake is ready in seconds.

I even keep a steady stash of straws always on hand. Nothing like a tall glass of ‘milkshake’ with a straw to enjoy it with!

This also tends to be very filling and everyone, no matter their age, enjoys it. You can change the colors and tastes by adding in other pieces of softened, ripe fruit. Mangoes, strawberries, blueberries. You only need a small amount of the second fruit for flavor and color, the thickness comes from the bananas.

To make the shake thicker, add less milk per banana. To make it thinner, add more milk. You do not need to add any sugar at all nor any vanilla pudding powder to thicken this nor to flavor it. The sweetness of the ripened bananas is more than enough to make it sweet enough for all! And this milk version has the added plus of calcium.

I have a child who is allergic to milk. What else do you suggest?

You can certainly substitute almond milk, which is also very tasty. Or you can make it entirely from fruit juice and a bit of water. Add in the bananas and maybe 1/4 cup frozen blueberries. Pour 2 cups of orange juice and blend as above. It’s delicious.

I find this is a great way to enjoy a milkshake any time of day, no matter how many people are around and it really saves money too.

Enjoy your shakes!

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