The Frozen Fruit Tip For Perfect Muffins

When it comes to produce, we are pretty programmed to always think that fresh is best — and very often it is! However, there is one exception to this general rule — muffins. As it turns out, using frozen fruit in muffins is oftentimes not only more convenient, but it can even result in a better final product. Plus, this means you can use some of your favorite fruits for muffins all year round instead of anxiously awaiting for peak season.

If you plan to elevate your muffin-making game, start using frozen fruit without an ounce of guilt. That said, there are a few tips to remember when using frozen fruit in your favorite muffin recipes. First, the best results come from smaller frozen fruit that has a thicker skin. Also, there is no need to defrost the fruit before adding it to the batter. In fact, using fruit that is still frozen benefits your baking in the long run. Why? The fruit holds up better and won't stain the batter as you mix it.

The best frozen fruit for muffins

Muffins made with fruit are certainly delicious, but some fruits lend themselves better to be used when fresh (this recipe for sugared mango muffins is an example) — while other types of fruit are best when added while still frozen. Smaller fruit incorporate seamlessly into the batter without sinking to the bottom, and fruit with thicker skin hold up best during the baking process. Choices such as raspberries, blackberries, and cherries (pitted, of course) are advised since they don't release as much water while in the oven. Of course, blueberries are always a go-to favorite as well, and this recipe for blueberry corn muffins is a great choice for frozen blueberries.

The best part is that there is no need to defrost frozen fruit when adding it to your favorite muffin recipe since the fruit will thaw as the muffin bakes in the oven. You just might need to add a few minutes of baking time when working with frozen fruit. Keep a close eye toward the end of the cooking time and test for doneness by inserting a wooden skewer into the center of one of the muffins before taking the pan out of the oven.

Muffin troubleshooting tips

Anyone who has made a batch of blueberry muffins knows it's easy for your beautiful creamy white batter to become streaked with purple if one of the berries bursts or gets smooshed as they are incorporated. This is another wonderful reason to turn to frozen fruit as the color bleed from blueberries or raspberries is greatly reduced. However, if you happen to see a few streaks even with frozen berries, try gently rinsing frozen fruit with cold water to make sure the berries don't bleed. This also reduces the possibility of an unappetizing gray ring around each berry when you bite into a blueberry muffin.

Finally, if you find your fruit is sinking to the bottom of the muffin pan rather than getting distributed throughout the batter, there is a quick tip that will save the batch. Simply toss the frozen fruit with a small amount of flour or cornstarch before folding it into the batter. This will help ensure that every bite of muffin from beginning to end is perfectly filled with fruit.