Cold enough for you?! That statement is winter’s annoying equivalent of “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity,” and I heard it about five times this weekend.
It’s hard to be without good, fresh fruit in the cold months—I bought a bunch of tangerines on Friday that let me muse on warmer times as well as provide my Vitamin C fix. I had momentary locavore guilt when I thought that I should be eating apples instead, but even the farmer’s market selection isn’t good enough for anything but apple pie right now.
The best alternative I’ve found is frozen fruit, particularly berries. Your local grocery store or corner bodega will almost always have bags of blueberries, raspberries, peach slices, and cherries. If you live near a Trader Joe’s (or have the stamina to wait in line with the 15,000 NYU students at the Union Square store), then you’re in luck, because I’ve always found their frozen fruit to be of the highest quality and the lowest price.
Either way, frozen fruit is actually a bit of foodie coup as the fruit is usually picked in season, at peak, and then immediately frozen and packaged. The problem comes when you defrost it, and you have a puddle of juice surrounding your tasty, but deflated berries.
How to get around the mushy berry issue, then? My solution is winter oatmeal, which lets all that juice work to your advantage. Here’s how I do it.
- 1/4 cup frozen raspberries
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 3/4 cup milk (any fat percentage or type) or water
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- Place the berries in a microwave-safe bowl and cook for 30 seconds until partially thawed. Set aside. (Don't have a microwave? Thaw your berries in the fridge overnight.)
- Place the oats and milk in a small saucepan and swirl to combine.
- Cover and cook over medium-low heat until the liquid comes to a simmer.
- Uncover, stir, and continue to cook until most of the liquid has been absorbed.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the berries and any juices.
- Top with maple syrup and serve.
- Add a twist of lemon to your raspberries, or some lemon oil if you don't have a fresh one in your fridge.
- Try frozen black cherries with a drop of vanilla extract or vanilla sugar.
- Try frozen peach slices with a spoonful of brown sugar.