7 Frozen Fruits You Should Buy (Even in the Summer), According to Chefs, Bakers, and Pro Cooks
Summertime is a riot of fresh produce — especially fruit. It’s hard not to eat fresh berries by the fistful when they’re ripe and in season. But there are also plenty of cases to be made for buying the frozen stuff. Frozen fruits, like vegetables, are typically flash-frozen just after picking. They’re at peak-ripeness, which means they pack great flavor. Frozen fruits can also be less expensive, more convenient, easier to source, and simply better for certain tasks (like making jam).
We asked chefs and bakers from around the country what frozen fruits always make their grocery list. While most agree that fresh fruit is best for fruit-forward desserts, like galettes, there’s definitely value in frozen, too. Here are their picks for the best frozen fruits!
Note: Of course, you can buy the fresh stuff and freeze it yourself if you want!
“I really enjoy frozen grapes in the summer — the coolness brings out their natural sweetness and I love their refreshing crunch. One of my favorite treats is to combine frozen grapes from Nature’s Partner with a vanilla bean custard, freeze-dried blueberries (I like Amifruit brand), fresh blackberries, drizzled maple syrup, lemon zest, and fresh mint. The variety of textures makes for a bright, refreshing snack anytime — especially in the summer.” — Nick Herrera, executive chef at the forthcoming Riviera in Southern California
Read more: Nature’s Partner Sweet Frozen Grapes
“Most folks think apples are just for fall season, but we disagree! We get sliced or diced frozen apples all year round, and we love to use them in a variety of ways. The sweet tartness of apples pairs beautifully with any berry, and in a compote or jam the pectin in the apple helps thicken the texture naturally! For instance, next week we’ll be making a hand pie filled with apple-blueberry compote infused with summer lavender buds. One of our favorite summer flavor combos!” — Jen Walls, co-owner of The Sweet Praxis
Read more: Dole Individually Quick Frozen Sliced Apples
“Adding some frozen pineapple chunks into a banana bread batter adds a perfect pop of sweetness. Our other secret tip for a tropical-tasting quick bread is swapping coconut oil for the butter and coconut milk for the dairy milk, and adding frozen pineapple and shredded coconut to the dry ingredients. It tastes like a tropical summer vacation.” — Jen Walls
Buy: Dole Gold Frozen Pineapple Chunks, $5.47 for 32 ounces at Walmart
“My family and I recently moved to Rhode Island, where blueberry bushes abound, but I’m still a year-round Wyman’s frozen wild blueberry fan. The little berries are way more flavorful than the bigger ones you typically find fresh in the produce section and they’re cuter, too. My signature breakfast (just ask my husband or my friends) is plain yogurt with a pile of Wyman’s. When I was commuting, I would put that combo in a Mason jar and by the time I got to the office the berries were thawed and perfect. I also love folding them into muffin batter straight from the freezer, sprinkling them on top of pancakes, and mixing into smoothies for a burst of flavor and color.” — Nina Elder, executive food director at Kitchn
Buy: Wyman’s Fresh Frozen Wild Blueberries, $10.99 for three pounds at Target
5. Cherries and Berries
“I run a Smoothie Household, in that we make and drink a lot of smoothies. But my freezer is also pretty stocked at all times, which means that freezing fresh fruit flat (so that it doesn’t all clump together in the container) isn’t always all that easy. So I like to cheat a little and just buy my smoothie supplies already ready frozen. This bag has a generous assortment of all the things.” — Lisa Freedman, Lifestyle Director at Kitchn
Buy: Good & Gather Cherries and Berries Frozen Blend, $10.39 for 48 ounces at Target
“It’s such a pain to prep mangos, and their ripeness is aways so iffy. And that’s where frozen mangos come in. We use them mainly for smoothies, but they’re also good for making homemade mango chutney and using as the base for a quick crisp or crumble.” — Nina Elder
Buy: Cascadian Farm Organic Mango Chunks, $6.49 for 10 ounces
“At Peg Leg Porker we make flaky fried peach pies. When they’re not in season, we use Kirkland Signature frozen peaches, which work great for year-round use. Just let the peaches thaw, then cut them up and add them to the mix, like fresh peaches.” — Carey Bringle, owner and Pitmaster of Peg Leg Porker
Bonus: Whatever Your Favorite Farmer or CSA Is Freezing!
“Oftentimes, we buy frozen fruit from farmers who have a surplus and can’t sell it all fresh, or fruit that is overripe and has virtually no shelf life, but is perfect for jam. We also buy fresh fruit and freeze it when there’s an abundance of something with a short season, such as mulberries.” — Sam Rogers, farm liaison at Gjelina Group
Do you buy frozen fruits year-round? What are your favorites?