Cooking with Frozen, Canned and Dried Fruit

Blueberry Crumb Cake

Since so many of us are eating out of our pantries these days, I wanted to provide some recipes for things you might already have. I hope you find these recipes helpful.

Frozen Fruit

I love to buy seasonal fruit and freeze them to use later. I normally have a nice selection of berries and bananas. Sometimes I also freeze peaches, pears and pineapples. In most cases, the frozen fruits can be used in baking recipes. When adding berries to cake batter, don’t thaw the fruit first, unless the recipe tells you to. Banana bread, blueberry muffins, raspberry bread and sorbets are just a few of the recipes I use with frozen fruit. You can also use frozen fruit in savory recipes.

Blueberry Crumb Cake

For cake batter:

2 c. flour

2 t. baking powder

½ t. salt

½ stick (¼ cup) butter, softened

¾ c. sugar

1 egg

½ c. milk

1 pint blueberries

For topping:

½ c. sugar

¼ c. flour

½ t. cinnamon

½ stick (¼ c. butter, chilled and cut into bits)

Combine dry ingredients and set aside. In mixing bowl with electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and milk. Add flour mixture gradually until just mixed in. Fold in blueberries. Grease and flour an 8 or 9-inch pan and add prepared batter. Combine topping ingredients until they resemble coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over batter in pan and bake in a preheated 375-degree oven and bake for 35-45 minutes. Use toothpick to test.

Note: I used a 9-inch round pan and it worked fine.  

Blueberry Scones

2 c. flour

3 T. sugar

1 T. baking powder

¾ salt

6 T. chilled butter

1 ½ c. blueberries

1 t. lemon zest

2 large eggs

1/3 c. heavy cream

Mix dry ingredients together in bowl and cut in butter to resemble coarse crumbs. Toss in blueberries and zest. Beat together eggs and cream and stir into flour mixture. Mix very gently to avoid bruising berries. Press into 6×6-inch square. Cut into 3×3 inch squares, then into triangles Place on baking sheet, brush with a little cream and sprinkle with a little extra sugar. Bake in a preheated 400-degree oven for 20-22 minutes. Makes 8.   

Oatmeal Banana Bread

½ c. shortening

¾ c. sugar

2 eggs

1 c. mashed bananas

1 t. vanilla extract

1½ c. flour

½ t. baking soda

½ t. salt

½ c. oats, regular or quick cooking

½ c. chopped nuts, optional

Preheat oven to 350-degrees and grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan. Cream together shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time until well mixed. Stir in bananas and vanilla. Combine dry ingredients and add to banana mixture. Beat well and stir in oats and nuts. Place batter in prepared pan and bake for 50-55 minutes, test for doneness with a toothpick. Cool 10 minutes and remove to cooling rack. Makes 1 loaf.

Orange Barbecue Sauce

1/2 c. chopped onion


1/2 c. water

1 c. catsup

1/3 c. frozen orange juice concentrate

juice of 1/2 a lime (about 1-2 T.)

2-3 T. brown sugar

1 T. Worcestershire sauce

1 T. mustard

Cook onion in oil until tender. Add remaining ingredients and simmer, covered for about 30 minutes. Remove lid and continue to cook, if needed, to reach desired thickness. Stir often to prevent sticking. Makes about 1 3/4 cups.

Raspberry Sauce

2 (10 oz.) packages frozen raspberries, thawed

2 T. brown sugar

1 T. lemon juice

2 t. cornstarch

Press one package of the berries through a sieve to remove the seeds. You can do both packages, if desired. Press out as much of the pulp as possible. Place all ingredients in saucepan and heat to a simmer, stirring often to prevent sticking. This will take about 5 minutes. Serve as a glaze on meats and poultry, especially duck or serve warm as a sauce on the side.

Orange-Glazed Chicken

6 chicken breast halves, skinned if desired

1/4 c. melted butter or margarine

6 oz. frozen orange juice concentrate

1/4 c. honey

3/4-1 c. bread crumbs

1/2 c. flour

1 t. paprika

salt and pepper to taste

Brush chicken breasts with melted butter or margarine. In shallow dish combine honey and juice and set aside. Combine crumbs with remaining ingredients shallow pan. Roll chicken pieces in orange juice mixture and then dip in the crumb mixture, pressing to coat. Place breaded pieces in greased baking dish and bake in a 375- degree oven for 50 minutes, or until juices run clear. Serves 6.

You can also use frozen fruits to make sorbets, ices and ice cream

Strawberry Ice

¾ c. sugar

1 c. water

4 c. fresh or frozen strawberries or raspberries

2 c. pink lemonade

2 c. raspberry-cranberry juice drink

Cook together sugar and water, boiling gently for 10 minutes. Cool and chill. Meanwhile puree and strain berries to remove seeds. Combine all ingredients and place in a 13×9 inch pan and freeze. When mixture is almost firm, break into chunks , place in bowl and mix with a mixer. Refreeze. If mixture gets too hard, soften before beating and re-freezing. You can also freeze in an ice cream machine. Makes 8-10 cups. 

Blueberry-Red Grape Sorbet

4 c. red grapes, fresh or frozen

2 c. blueberries, fresh or frozen

sugar to taste- I used a couple of tablespoons

a few sprigs of fresh mint, optional

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. You might have to do this in a couple of batches. Place in a container and freeze until solid. Remove from freezer and allow to soften for about 20 minutes, or even a little less. Mixture should still be frozen, but soft enough to break into chunks. Place in processor and mix again. Mixture will get smoother and softer. You can also do this step in a stand mixer or even with a hand mixer. Return sorbet to freezer, until ready to eat it.

Strawberry Ice Cream

2 c. chopped strawberries

1 c. sugar

1 T. vanilla

2 c. cream or half and half or a combination. You can also use some milk or even almond or rice milk.

Additional sugar to taste

Place strawberries, vanilla and sugar in saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and chill. Combine chilled berry mixture with cream. Add additional sugar if you like. Remember that once it is frozen the ice cream will not taste as sweet so make this mixture a little sweeter than you want the final product to be. How much sugar you add varies with personal taste, and how sweet the berries are. Place in an ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s directions. Once finished put in an air- tight container and place in freezer. Makes about 1 quart.

Strawberry Sorbet

While this recipe is made with strawberries, you can use any number of fruits in this recipe. Use what you have and get creative.

2 c. fresh or frozen strawberries (allow frozen berries to thaw a little first)

1/4 c. sugar, or to taste

3 T. fresh lemon juice

Place ingredients in food processor and process until smooth. Place in shallow pan and freeze. If you are using frozen berries re-freezing will take only about 1 hour. Up to 30 minutes before serving remove sorbet from freezer and allow to soften enough to break into chunks. Place in processor and blend again until very smooth. Serve immediately. Serves 4.  

Canned Fruit

Some of the recipes for frozen fruit can also be used with canned fruit, like sorbets. Canned fruits can often be baked with, and used for sauces with savory dishes. Applesauce can be used in all sorts of recipes, too. Here are some recipes.

Peach Glazed Ribs

2-3 lbs. western-style ribs or 4-5 lbs. spare ribs, cut into sections

salt and pepper to taste

garlic powder

onion powder

2-3 lbs. fresh peaches or nectarines, peeled, pitted and sliced                           -or- 1 (29 oz.) cans sliced peaches, drained

1/4 c. each brown sugar and vinegar

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 T. soy sauce

1 t. fresh grated ginger

 Place ribs on rack in a baking sheet and season to taste. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 1 hour. Meanwhile combine remaining ingredients in a saucepan and simmer over medium low heat until mixture is thickened and fruit is tender. Remove ribs from oven and set aside. Remove rack from bake and drain off any fat in pan. Return ribs to pan without the rack and cover with the peach sauce. Seal with foil and return to oven for 30 minutes more. Remove foil and bake an additional 45 minutes for western ribs and 30 minutes for spare ribs. Serve with rice or pasta. Serves 3-4.

Cranberry Barbecue Sauce

1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes

2 T. brown sugar

1 T. minced dried onion

 1 T. vinegar

1 T. molasses

1 t. each dried basil, dried oregano and garlic powder

1/2 t. each cumin, paprika and pepper

dash salt

1 (15 oz.) can whole berry cranberry sauce

Combine all ingredients, except cranberry sauce in food processor and pulse a few times to chop up a bit. Combine this mixture with cranberry sauce in saucepan and cook over medium heat about 30 minutes or until thickened. Stir to prevent sticking.  Makes about 2 1/2 cups.

To use: brush on chicken, ribs or beef kebobs last 15 minutes of cooking.

Pear Sauce

½ c. sugar

½ c. balsamic vinegar

1 lb. Pears, cored, peeled and diced, or 8 canned pear halves, drained

2 T. dried minced onion

1 t. minced garlic

dash hot sauce

 pinch cinnamon

salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until thickened, about 20 minutes. Stir often to avoid burning. Serve with pork or lamb roasts. Makes about 2 cups.

Pork with Pear Sauce

1 lb. Pork loin. Sliced or 4 pork chops


1 large onion, sliced

salt and pepper to taste

1 recipe pear sauce, See above

In skillet cook pork in oil, turning to brown evenly until juices run clear when meat is pierced. Remove meat and add onions, sautéing until onions are browned. Return pork to pan, adjust seasonings and add1 cup of the pear sauce. Cook 10 minutes, or until heated through and bubbly. Serves 4.

Spirited Applesauce

½ c. butter

 2 c. chunky-style applesauce

¼ c. sugar

½ c. rum dark preferred

1 t. cinnamon

½ t. ground cardamom

¼ t. ground nutmeg

pinch of cloves

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and simmer over low heat , stirring frequently until thickened. Makes about 2 cups. Use as a glaze on pork, lamb or poultry. Serve on the side as you would cranberry sauce. Can be served warm or cold. Also good with breakfast sausages or as a dipping sauce.

Sweet and Sour Sauce

1/2 c. vinegar

1/2 c. sugar

1/2 c. pineapple juice – from canned chunk pineapple

3 T. catsup

2 T. soy sauce

2 T. cornstarch

1 t. dried minced garlic

1-t. fresh grated ginger

Hot pepper flakes to taste

In saucepan combine all ingredients. Cook over medium heat, stirring as mixture gets hot, until sauce begins to bubble. It will also get much clearer. Boil gently 1 minute, stirring constantly before removing from heat. Makes 1 1/2 c. Keeps in the fridge for a couple of weeks.

Sweet and Sour Pork or Chicken

1-2 lbs. boneless pork or chicken

1 egg

1 t. cornstarch

1/4 t. salt

1 t. soy sauce

Additional cornstarch for dredging

2 T. oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 medium carrot, peeled and sliced thin

1 sweet green pepper, seeded and chopped

1 sweet red or yellow pepper, seeded and chopped

1 20 oz. can pineapple chunks, drained, reserving juice for sauce

1 recipe sweet and sour sauce (see note)

Cut meat into cubes and place in bowl. Combine egg, 1-t. cornstarch, salt and soy sauce and pour over the meat, stirring to coat. Allow marinating at least 1 hour in fridge.

When ready to cook, heat 1T. oil in large skillet or wok. Sauté onions on high until tender. Add carrots and stir fry 3 minutes. Add peppers and sauté 3 minutes more. Remove to bowl and stir in pineapple. Dredge the meat in additional cornstarch and sauté in remaining oil until browned and when juices run clear when pierced with a fork.

Meanwhile, combine sauce ingredients in a saucepan and heat to boiling. Return vegetables to pan with meat and pour over sauce to desired amount.  Serve over rice, makes 4-6 servings.

Note: If you make the sweet and sour sauce ahead of time it will get runny when reheated if made with regular cornstarch. Either use modified cornstarch (Clear Gel A) or make sauce just before using. You may also want to use only some of the sauce and save the rest for another use.

Pineapple Spice Scones

3 c. flour

1/3 c. sugar

2 ½ t. baking powder

½ t. salt

¾ c. cold butter

1 (8 oz.) can crushed pineapple in its own juice, undrained


3 T. chopped nuts

1 T. sugar

½ t. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In mixing bowl combine dry ingredients. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add pineapple and stir until dough forms. It will be sticky.  Turn dough onto floured surface and knead gently 10-12 strokes until dough holds together. Roll or pat dough to a ¼ inch thickness and cut with a 2 ½ inch biscuit cutter. Re-roll scraps. Place scones on ungreased baking sheet. Brush with milk. Combine nuts, sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle on scones. Bake about 15 minutes. Makes about 21.

Canned Fruit Sorbet

If you are looking for a simple dessert, sorbet from canned fruit is pretty simple. Any number of fruits could be used. Start by draining the fruit, saving the liquid. Puree the fruit. If you want to sweeten it, you can use some of the liquid from the can. You can also add sugar, honey, jam, jelly, preserves, or maple syrup. You can also use frozen juice concentrates to sweeten. Taste it to see how sweet it is. For more flavor, you can  add flavorings, like extracts (vanilla, almond, mint), citrus juice or zest, herbs, etc. I sometimes add a can of coconut milk, for a creamy frozen dessert. Have fun and be creative. Save any extra can liquids in the fridge for now. Place fruit puree in a shallow pan to freeze. Once frozen, take the mixture out, chunk it up- you might have to let it soften on the counter a few minutes- then puree it again in a food processor. The mixture should get nice and creamy. If it is too hard to process, you can add a little of the reserved can liquid. Taste again to see if it needs more sugar, or more flavorings. The flavor changes when frozen. It is ready to eat at this point. You can freeze it again and process it one more time for an even smoother result. Store in freezer until ready to enjoy. You can combine different fruits. Fun project for kids.     

Dried Fruit

Dried fruits can be added to baked goods, salads, granola, oatmeal or be eaten just as a snack. If they are hard, you can soften the fruit first, by placing in warm water or fruit juice. You can also melt chocolate and add dried fruits and nuts (optional). Stir together, then drop by spoonfuls on wax paper for an easy candy. Here are some of my favorite recipes using dried fruits.

Raisin Scones

2 c. flour

2 t. baking powder

½ t. baking soda

½ t. ground nutmeg

½ t. salt

½ c. cold butter

1 c. raisins

2 T. sugar

1 egg, separated

¾ c. buttermilk

additional sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In bowl combine dry ingredients. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add raisins and sugar and toss to distribute evenly. Mix egg yolk with buttermilk and add to flour mixture, stirring to combine. Turn dough onto floured surface and knead gently 10-12 strokes. Cut dough in half and form each half into a six inch circle. Cut each circle of dough into 6 wedges, but do not separate. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and brush with egg white. Sprinkle with extra sugar and bake 18-22 minutes. Makes 12.

Cranberry-Buttermilk Scones

3 c. flour

¼ c. plus 2 T. sugar

2 t. baking powder

¼ t. salt

1 ¼ sticks,(10 tablespoons) chilled butter, cubed

3/4 c. dried cranberries

½ c. buttermilk

3 large eggs

1 t. water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine flour with ¼ c. sugar, baking powder, and salt. Rub in butter with finger tips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in cranberries. Combine milk with 2 of the eggs and beat together. Stir egg mixture into flour mixture and stir until dough begins to form into a ball. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead about 10 stokes until dough holds together. Grease 2 nine inch cake pans. divide dough in half and place one piece in each cake pan. Press dough out evenly. Combine remaining egg with 2 teaspoons water and beat until well mixed. Score top of loaves with sharp knife into 8 wedges each. Brush with egg mixture and sprinkle with reserved sugar. Bake until golden, about 30 minutes. Cool 5 minutes, turn onto plates and cool right side up. Cut along score marks. Serve warm. Makes 16.

Whole Wheat Biscotti

¾ c. whole wheat flour

½ c. flour

1/3 c. sugar

1 t. baking powder

¼ t. salt

½ c. walnuts

¼ c. golden raisins

Combine all


2 eggs

1 t. vanilla

Shape into loaf 2”x11” on oiled sheet. Bake at 350-degrees for 20 minutes. Slice thin and place on cooling rack on baking sheet then return to oven, reduce heat to 300-degrees bake 25 minutes. 

Oatmeal Raisin Squares

4 c. oats

2 c. flour (whole wheat pastry flour)

½ c. brown sugar (¼ c. honey)

1 c. pecans, chopped

1 t. baking soda

1 t. salt

1 ½ c. butter, melted (1 c. applesauce, ½ c. olive oil)

2 t. vanilla

½ c. water

2 c. raisins

Zest of 1 lemon

½ t. cinnamon

Non-stick cooking spray

Heat oven to 350. Spray a 9×13-inch pan, set aside. Combine oats, flour, sugar, nuts, soda, salt pour in butter and vanilla, stir until well mixed and set aside. Heat together water with raisins, zest and cinnamon and bring to a boil. Simmer two minutes and remove from heat to cool a little. Process until almost smooth. Press half of the oatmeal mixture in bottom of pan. Spread the raisin mixture over the oat meal mix and then top with the remaining oat mix. Press down firmly. Bake until golden on the top, 35-45 minutes. Cut once cool. Makes 24 squares.


3 c. rolled oats

1/4 -1/2 c. each of any of the following to equal 1-2 c. total

Sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, wheat germ, peanuts, pecans, almonds, hazel nuts, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, coconut (chop up any big pieces)

1 t. cinnamon

1 t. orange peel

1/2 t. nutmeg

1/4 c. oil

1/4 c. honey

2 t. vanilla

Dried fruit to equal 1/2 -1 1/2 cups. Some choices could include: raisins, dried cranberries, cherries, pineapple, dates, figs, apricots, bananas, blueberries etc.

In large bowl combine oats with seeds and nuts and toss well with seasonings. Heat together oil, honey and vanilla and pour over oat mixture, tossing to coat evenly. Spread on a cookie sheet and bake in a 300 degree oven for 30 minutes. Halfway through the baking time stir mixture so the edges won’t burn. Remove from oven and return to large bowl. Toss with the dried fruit and allow to cool before storing in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Use in 1 month. Makes 5-7 cups.

Subscriber to our Mailing List
Follow us on Social Media
Support This Site
Donate Now
New Release: