How Does Using Frozen Fruit Change The Process?

by Debbie
(Glenville NC)

If I am using frozen fruit does that change the order of ingredients? Do you still add ice? Does the frozen fruit count as the fruit or ice in the steps?

Editor's Response: This is an excellent question. It really depends on a few different factors: whether you are using frozen fruit as your only fruit or in addition to fresh fruit, and your preference for texture.

Scenario 1: Using Frozen Fruit In Addition to Fresh Fruit

This is what I do most of the time when making smoothies with frozen fruit. I usually use at least one fresh fruit, typically at least one banana, as the base of my smoothie.

If you are allergic to bananas or don’t like bananas, you can use other fruits like strawberries, pears or kiwis as your fresh fruit base. But for me, using 1 banana broken into small chunks works best as a fresh fruit base.

So I add in my banana or other fresh fruit base and the liquid, then I start blending (Step 1 in this process).

At that point, you can add in the frozen fruit at any point in the blending process. You asked if it counts as the fruit or the ice in the steps…I say it counts as its own step, somewhere in between the first step (fresh fruit) and the last step (ice).

I have experimented with adding in frozen fruit more towards the beginning of the process (after step 1) or more towards the end (with the ice), but I have found that it doesn’t really make a difference.

What does matter is that you add in the fresh fruit and liquid first, blend a little to get a nice smooth base, and then the blender can handle blending additional harder frozen fruits.

You may be wondering, what happens if I DON’T add in fresh fruit with liquid first?

Scenario 2: Using Frozen Fruit Instead of Fresh Fruit

What if all you are using is frozen fruit, and you don’t have any fresh fruit on hand?

This happens to me sometimes when I run out of bananas and other fresh fruit. I always keep some store bought frozen fruit on hand, such as frozen berries and frozen mangos, for these kinds of inevitable situations.

I also sometimes freeze my own fruit. When my bananas start turning brown and I can’t eat them fast enough, I peel them, break them in half and put them in a freezer bag to use in later smoothies.

The problem with this scenario is that you no longer have that nice smooth textured base for your blender to work with. It’s actually a lot harder for your blender to blend frozen fruit and liquid without having something else there first.

Try it, and you’ll end up very frustrated...with something that looks more like a slushy and seems like it just won’t blend, no matter how much more liquid you keep adding. I have been there and it’s not fun.

The solution to this? If you can, during step 1, add in anything solid to go with the liquid, before adding in anything frozen. So your Step 1 would not be Fruit & Liquid, it would be something else solid along with the liquid.

What kind of solids am I talking about? A handful of chopped walnuts or other nuts works very well, and is usually what I use in this situation. If you don’t have that, peanut butter can work but it’s not ideal as it’s more of a liquid than a solid. A little bit of oatmeal (cooked or uncooked) can work too, or other breakfast cereals.

You don’t need a lot of this “solid,” as a little bit goes a long way.

The point is, you don’t want to be adding in frozen fruit on the very first step, as your blender treats that as ice and will have a very hard time blending it.

You need to have something else in there first for your blender to work with, making it 10X easier to blend the frozen fruit when you add it in later.

Do You Still Add Ice?

This depends on your preferences for how cold you like your smoothies.

I personally LOVE ice cold smoothies, with that nice thick texture, more like a milkshake. I can’t stand room temperature smoothies or very liquidy smoothies and will always add as much ice as I can without making it impossible to blend.

As a result, I always add at least some ice, if I can, in addition to whatever frozen fruit I may be using.

So for example, I usually use six ice cubes in my smoothies that have only fresh fruit. If I’m using frozen fruit, I may add in three ice cubes instead of six.

The frozen fruit does act as ice, but I find that it still helps to add in a bit of extra ice to get that nice ice cold texture I love.

Now your preferences may be completely different, and that is fine. What I would recommend is that you blend it first without adding in any ice. Take a spoon at the end and sample it. Do you like the texture? If so, stop right there. If not, experiment with adding in just a few ice cubes at a time until you get your desired coldness and texture.

What If You Can’t Add Ice?

I have also been in the situation where I didn’t have access to ice cubes, such as when travelling and staying in hostels (yes, we brought a small blender and superfood powders with us on our most recent backpacking trip…that’s how much of smoothie enthusiasts we are) :)

I’ve also been in the situation when my blender was so weak it couldn’t handle ice cubes from the ice cube tray. It just wouldn’t blend them.

So if that’s the case, ice is not mandatory. Frozen fruit CAN be used as a substitute for ice if needed. You’ll just need to use a bit more of it.

Frozen banana chunks make great substitutes for ice cubes in a pinch, and also enhance the flavor of the smoothie, as you are no longer diluting it with all that frozen water.

Was This Helpful?

I will go more into frozen fruit versus fresh fruit later, but this was an excellent question. I hope I answered your question. If you have any follow up questions to ask, feel free to ask more.

And if anyone else has any related questions or comments to add, please do join in on the discussion! I would be interested to hear others’ take on this issue.

Thank you for visiting and I hope you found this helpful!

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