Tips for Keeping Summer Fruits Fresh, and 5 Recipes for Frozen Summer Desserts

Don’t let any of your ripe fruit go to waste; use it to make refreshing desserts like Rum Berry Sherbet, Iced Lemons with Raspberries and Mint, and Frozen Strawberry Pie.

June 22, 2010

What's cooler than a dessert of lemon-raspberry sorbet served in iced, scooped-out lemons?

RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—Summer desserts tend to be on the cool, light side, as warmer weather tends to suppress appetites while simultaneously creating cravings for cold sweetness. Though ice cream’s always tempting, consider getting a delicious dose of nutrients by experimenting with homemade fruity frozen desserts this summer. Berries, melons, and other refreshing fruits are nearing their peak flavor and nutrition now, and icy granitas, sherbets, and other freezer pleasers are a great way to use up ripe fruit, avoiding waste. So take your favorite seasonal fruits and put them on ice with some cool summer desserts: From sorbets to frozen fruit pies, there’s a frosty fruit dessert to suit every occasion, be it a summer dinner party or a homey family supper.


More Ways to Enjoy Fruit, from
3 Delicious Ways to Enjoy Cantaloupe
Make the Most of Summer Fruit: Dessert recipes from produce guru Deborah Madison.
Summer Fruit Desserts: Taste your favorite fruits in a whole new way.

Summer desserts made with the season's bounty of fresh fruits serve double-duty, offering up much-needed fluid replacement in addition to nutrients. Watermelon and cantaloupe rank particularly high when it comes to water content, which helps with rehydration on a warm day; juicy watermelon is actually 92 percent water. Both melon types are good sources of vitamins C and A; in fact, cantaloupe boasts more cancer-fighting vitamin A than most vegetables and fruits. It also has high levels of potassium, an electrolyte that’s lost through sweat. Juicy mangoes contain potassium, too, along with vitamin A. Other seasonal disease-fighting fruits that are great in frozen summer desserts include folate-rich and fiber-packed strawberries, and antioxidant-loaded blueberries.

To maximize the amount of fruit you actually enjoy, rather than throw out, follow our simple storage tips. (Sobering fact: The average family throws out almost 122 pounds of food per month and wastes $590 per year on food that spoils.) Ripen watermelon on your countertop for about a week to nearly double its beta-carotene and lycopene levels, according to a USDA study. Just remember to pop it in the fridge a day before eating. But don’t store it near other fruits: Watermelon will deteriorate faster when exposed to ethylene, a gas released by ripening fruits. And for longest life, avoid purchasing precut watermelon or cantaloupe, which deteriorate faster. Store berries in the fridge in their original clamshell containers—they allow for ventilation. But remove any bruised or moldy berries from the batch, since they’ll hasten decay among the rest. Don’t wash berries until right before eating, as doing so in advance encourages the growth of mold.

To enjoy your favorite ripe seasonal fruits in new, refreshing ways, sample a few of the following frosty fruit desserts from the Rodale Recipe Finder.

#1: Watermelon Granita. These granitas are made by occasionally raking the melon mixture while it freezes (or blending it in a food processor afterwards) in order to give it an icy, slushy consistency. Try this recipe for watermelon granita, or make cantaloupe granita instead.

#2: Rum Berry Sherbet. Skim milk turns this frozen fruit into sherbet, and rum makes it a decidedly adult dessert. For a kid-friendly option, make Blueberry-Buttermilk Sorbet.

#3: Fresh Berry Sorbet. Make pure, refreshing sorbets using berries or a combo of melon and mango.

#4: Iced Lemons with Raspberries and Mint. In this special dessert that’s great for entertaining, homemade lemon sorbet is mixed with raspberries and served in scooped-out lemons.

#5: Frozen Strawberry Pie. This creamy confection of fresh strawberries and reduced-fat cream cheese has an easy crust made from vanilla wafer cookies.

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