The second summer hits, it feels like a rush to the farmers market to stock up on berries, melons, and stone fruits galore. But when it comes to baking up sweet treats, you might want to reconsider reaching for fresh. Not only is it easy to swap frozen for fresh in most recipes, but frozen fruit also typically works just as well as, if not better than, its fresh counterpart. Here are three times when frozen fruit is better than fresh for baking.
1. When fresh fruit isn't ripe or in peak season.
Before you start baking, consider the fruit you plan to use, what's currently available, and the quality of the fruit. If you're planning to bake a peach cobbler in the middle of August when you can round up a selection of fragrant, ripe peaches from the farm stand, by all means stick with the fresh stuff. But when you're baking with out-of-season fruit or have a selection that's unripe, your best bet is to use frozen fruit. Associate Editor Meghan says, "I have a deep and abiding love for frozen fruit. I love frozen peaches because they are already peeled and sliced. Plus they are always sweeter and juicier when thawed than off-season peaches."
2. When you're watching your spending.
Fresh berries from the farmers market are a summertime treat like no other. They're ultra-fragrant and bursting with big, bold flavors, but they also have a steep price tag to match. You may be willing to put down $7 for a pint of strawberries, but if your baking plans include pie or anything else that requires a lot of fruit, it's going to cost you. Save the pricey fresh berries for eating out of hand when you can really enjoy them as they are and opt for the less expensive frozen berries for your large-scale pies, crumbles, and cobblers.
3. When you'd rather skip prepping the fruit.
Frozen fruit is a wonderful convenience. This is especially true of stone fruits, like frozen peaches, which come peeled and sliced, and cherries, which are pitted and often sliced in half. When it comes to baking cherry pie or cobbler, opting for frozen fruit saves a lot of time (and stained fingertips).
Summer Desserts to Bake with Frozen Fruit
Your turn! When do you opt for frozen fruit over the fresh stuff for baked desserts?