The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

On The Table

September 26, 2012

Amanda Stone: Last call for frozen treats

JOPLIN, Mo. — Before it gets too far into fall, let’s give one last shout out to frozen treats.

I’m not referring to the usual ice-cream truck fare, which, by the way, is still circling my block like a vulture waiting for the school bus to arrive. We need to give the fruit in our freezers the recognition it deserves. I picked blueberries, cherries, peaches and blackberries this summer. It’s all in the freezer just waiting to be made into a warm, wintry cobbler.

I’d rather use some of this summer bounty in a healthier way. Time to break out the blender. Smoothies are a great way to make a yummy meal in a glass. Throw some fruit, plain yogurt and honey or agave nectar in the blender, and you have the base for a great smoothie. Add ground flax seed and some wheat germ, and you’ve got instant fiber and heart health. Because I love to eat, I enjoy a handful of walnuts or almonds with my smoothie. There’s just something about the need to chew that is lacking in a smoothie.

What I really love to do is put frozen fruit in my food processor and make faux ice cream. I always have frozen bananas, because as much as we eat bananas, there’s always one or two that get too brown and mushy. Into the freezer they go. Sure, frozen bananas can be used in pancakes, muffins or banana bread, but try tossing them into your food processor. Pulse them until they become the consistency of soft-serve ice cream. I put a dollop of them in a fancy dish and give them a dash of sprinkles or chopped nuts. We all have banana ice cream, but my daughter thinks she’s getting a special treat. So sneaky.

Pawpaws are currently in season, so if you know someone with a pawpaw tree, now is the time to scoop them up. They taste tropical, kind of like mango, and have a rich, custard-like texture. Because pawpaws are terribly perishable, they’re not shipped or sold at markets. Your best bet is to know where a tree is. A friend recently gave me a small trash bag full of pawpaws. Once I removed the skin and seeds, I had a half gallon of pawpaw pulp. They’re a lot of work for what you get, but they’re very flavorful. They shouldn’t be left to rot on the ground. Put the pulp in the freezer and use it in a smoothie or pawpaw/banana faux ice cream.

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