Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Freeze It For Later: Fruit

By the time you are reading this, I'll be on the highway, headed North with my sweet babes and Mr. Devlin for two weeks of family time. Nothing exotic or fancy, just watching my parents try to earn their way into heaven by spoiling Thing 1 and Thing 2 into bliss. And I'll be recharging my batteries with the inspiration that comes from being way out in the middle of nowhere with no household distractions like what I should make for dinner or who's out of clean underware. What can I say? I'm a simple girl.

And so, I'm closing out this week of frozen forethought with one last idea for you, dear reader. Freezing fruit. And not like a pint of berries or something you already know (please stop slapping your forehead); I mean the stuff that you are tempted to throw out--like that last banana that's really really brown or the poor, forgotten apple that's been rolling around in the crisper, banged up beyond repair. It still has use.

For apples, you have many options. If you have more than just a few apples, peel them, slice them, toss them with a little lemon juice and freeze them asap--later, you can use them for pie or apple crisp.
If there are less than, say two or three, you can either peel and chopped them into tiny bits or shred them (with the skin even), again, with a little lemon juice. These little bits are great for muffins, cookies or scones.

Grapes make a sweet cold treat after being frozen. Or plop them into a grown up beverage to jazz up a cocktail or champagne.

Lemons, oranges, limes and grapefruits--you can zest and juice them, freezing the zest. Or slice them thinly and use later in drinks like lemonade, fruit punches or iced tea. I totally want some sangria now.

And, last but not least, the humble banana. When muffins or smoothies don't rock you right, may I suggest my favorite banana bread recipe? "Boring" you say? It has choc-late and choc-late chunks in it, says I. Yeah, thought that would get your attention.

Crank up the oven to 350, Tilly. Your gonna need either TWO 9x5 loaf pans or (as I do) TEN mini pans, sprayed and ready for action.

1 cup of softened butter
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
6 bananas, mashed
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups of AP flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 cup sour cream, buttermilk, sour milk or yogurt
1 cup chocolate chips

In a bowl, mix together the flour, salt, baking soda and cocoa powder.
With the mixer, cream together the butter and sugar.
Add the eggs one at a time.
Add the vanilla.
Scrape down the bowl with a scraper, then add the bananas.
Beat until the bananas are incorporated well.
Add one half of the dry mixture.
Now add the sour cream or the soured culture of your choice (NOT that sad group of teens outside the mall)
Add the remaining dry mixture. Scrape down bowl.
Add the chocolate chips with the spatula, not the mixer.

This makes a fair amount of batter. Divide it into the pans of your choosing and bake. For the large loaves, you'll need about an hour. For the smaller pans, about 30 minutes. Test them by inserting a toothpick that should come out clean.

Remove and cool for 10-15 minutes in the pan before inverting and removing the pan. By doing this, you allow the steam to escape instead of leaving you with soggy (albeit yummy) bread.
Cool completely before wrapping to store (or freeze) or trying to cut.

I will say, I can't keep this stuff in the house long enough. I started freezing my bananas in sixes so I could just grab one and thaw it for a batch. The bread freezes beautifully, too, by the way.

And, so, I hope you've enjoyed the tips this week. I'll post when I can in the next two weeks but mainly, I'll be listening to my eldest daughter splashing in the pool and shrieking after fireflies, while my sweet babe practices raspberries and smiling at Pop-pop.


Joanne said...

Best picture evar!

Principalk said...

Hurry back....we miss you even though I did get to see that bright shining smile of yours!