Ice Cream How-To: Keep Fruit from Becoming Ice Blocks

Creamy, soft-frozen blueberries = Delicious. Frozen solid blueberry ice cubes = blech, just blech.

Creamy, soft-frozen blueberries = Delicious. Frozen solid blueberry ice cubes = blech, just blech.

We’ve all had it – delicious, creamy ice cream that tastes like a dream come true…Until you bite into a frozen chunk of fruit that has the flavor of an ice cube that’s been sitting in the bottom of the freezer for 3 months. There has to be a way to get that fresh fruit flavor without these ice blocks, right?

Yes!! There is!!

The secret: Cook the fruit with just a little bit of sugar.

I generally estimate about 1/4 cup of sugar for a pint of fruit. Heat them together either on the stovetop or roast in the oven, just until the sugar melts. If you’re cooking it on the stove, the fruit will become slightly syrupy. Usually takes about 5 minutes over medium heat. If you’re roasting your fruit in the oven (GREAT for strawberries), cook them at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes.

Now you may be wondering, how does this work? Is it really so simple? Here’s the thing. Fruit is full of water. That’s what makes it so juicy and yummy. But if you just add all of that water-filled fruit to your ice cream base and freeze it, you get fruit-shaped ice cubes because the water doesn’t have anywhere to go. It’s almost like mixing oil and water – the water just stays all by itself and refuses to get all friendly with those ice cream particles. So what does sugar do? It acts almost like a glue when heated up with the fruit. The water in fruit LOVES sugar and basically gives it a big ole hug. And guess what!! Cream loves sugar too!! It’s like a group hug!! (Clearly I am NOT a scientist). So the sugar helps the water mingle with the cream and keeps it from freezing solid. It’s a beautiful thing, really. 🙂

Now get on out there and make some yummy, fruity ice cream!

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