School is back this week (that short week last week didn’t count), and with summer still in full swing, inevitably the first thing my children ask for when I collect them from school is “can we have an ice block/icecream”? With a little forethought and preparation, an icy treat can materialise with little effort. Through summer, I stockpile the freezer with excess berries, stone fruit and zucchini (!?) for making quick soft serve-like icecream.
With a watchful eye at the produce markets, seconds can often be purchased for a fraction of the price of the better-keeping (less ripe) fruit. The fruit we can’t eat on the day is frozen into free-flow bags. When freezing larger berries and stone fruit, I cut the fruit into wedges or halves (for strawberries), and arrange in a single layer on a tray. Freeze until solid then pour into a bag or large container. Then all it takes is a quick blend and the freshest whole fruit icecream is ready to go.
Anyone with zucchini in the garden will relate to the struggle to use them as fast as they grow. Even when cooking them for dinner every night and giving some to the neighbours, we still have more than I can deal with. I have seen frozen cauliflower going into smoothies to add creaminess so why not in-season zucchini? It adds a silky, almost creamy, sorbet-like texture. I do suggest using smaller zucchini and peel them first as they are milder in flavour.
Real Fruit 'Soft Serve' Icecream
- 1 cup frozen berries: blueberries strawberries, boysenberries, raspberries
- 1 cup frozen peach or plum slices
- ½ cup frozen zucchini slices, about 1 small/medium peeled zucchini
- 2-3 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
- ¼ cup cream or coconut cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Place the berries, peach slices and zucchini into a food processor and leave to thaw for 10-15 minutes to soften a little. Add the honey, cream and vanilla, and blend until smooth. Stop and scrape down the sides as needed. If the fruit initially jumps around the machine, then leave for another five minutes to soften. Check taste, adding extra sweetener if needed. Dollop the soft serve icecream straight into bowls or cones and eat before it melts.
Or double the recipe and spoon the icecream into a container and freeze until solid. To serve, thaw on the bench for 15-20 minutes then scoop.
*Recipe first published 5th February 2020 on Stuff.co.nz