I have a love-hate relationship with frozen fruit bars. Dripping, splattering, sticky messes — they’re not a mother’s best friend. But on a blazing-hot summer day, a frozen, fruity concoction is just about the perfect snack.
Recently I snatched up all the fruity frozen bars I could find — the ones that are made from real fruit — and the Kelly family tasted them all.
FrütStix Bars — mango, fruit, and lime — all suffered from texture issues ($3.29 for four bars at Whole Foods). “Texture’s more like a Fudgsicle — more creamy than fruity,” noticed Patrick.
Whole Foods 365 Frozen Fruit Bars fared better. “This lime bar [$2.79 for four bars] is bursting with aroma and flavor — like a glass of lemonade on a hot day,” smiled Patrick. The voracious lip-smacking from the teens at the other end of the table told me they enjoyed them also.
“I got a chunk of frozen mango in this bite,” said Patrick, trying the mango flavor.
“Why do they put strawberries in a Caribbean fruit blend?” continued Patrick, looking at the 365 Caribbean Mix Fruit Bars [$2.79 for four bars]. I associate strawberries with England, not the Caribbean,” he said. “Wish this had more tropical flavors — the strawberry is overwhelming all the other fruits.”
Trader Joe’s sold its own Caribbean fruit bar called Fruit Floes ($1.99 for four bars). “What’s a Floes?” asked my teens. The strawberry, pineapple, mango, and passion fruit made for a colorful dessert. “The flavors are delicious, but I would have a hard time getting through a whole one of these,” noticed Patrick. “It’s more of a snack than a light, refreshing dessert.”
The Trader Joe’s Lime Fruit Floes ($1.99 for four bars) and the Coconut Water Fruit Floes ($1.99 for four bars) both tasted too concentrated. “I feel like I’m eating limeade concentrate on a stick,” laughed Patrick. “The essence of fruit bars should be a summery lightness that quenches the thirst. These Floes make me thirsty.”
The last frozen fruity option at Trader Joe’s — a winner — was the Fruit Frenzy Bars ($1.99 for four bars). Tangy raspberry, lemon, and strawberry flavors in a large rectangle-sized bar twice the size of the others.
Other keepers: Sprouts Strawberry Frozen Fruit Bars ($3.69 for four bars) and Sprouts Mango Frozen Fruit Bars ($3.69 for four bars). “I’m getting little chunks of fruit, nice texture, and flavor,” offered Patrick.
The teens, however, preferred the next bar: Safeway’s Strawberry Fruit Bars ($3.99 for six bars). “These are rich strawberry goodness and very filling,” my son said. “I could only eat one of these.” An anomaly for my perpetually growing teen.
“Doesn’t it taste a bit like strawberry jam on a stick, though?” countered Patrick.
“That’s why he likes it,” I smiled.
Nobody liked the Sprouts Coconut Frozen Fruit Bars ($3.69 for four bars). “Look, it bends,” shouted a teen. “Tastes like pudding.”
Some other bars were forgettable — just icy, with a hint of flavor. Dreyer’s Lemonade Fruit Bars ($4.99 for six bars at Vons) fell into that category. “I have to eat about a quarter of it to get some flavor,” complained my man. Another loser: Kroger’s Fruit Bars ($3.19 for 12 bars at Ralphs).
Yet another flavor sufferer: Helados Mexico Fruit Bars Minis ($4.59 for 12 bars at Ralphs). “I do like the mini size — perfect to hand to a toddler,” I noticed. “But the strawberry tastes like the one bad strawberry you get in a fresh strawberry basket — the one with no flavor.”
“My beef with strawberry pops is that they are often too heavy, like eating strawberry jam off the spoon,” said Patrick, licking the Kroger Fruit Bars No Sugar Added ($3.19 for 12 bars at Ralphs). “But these are a happy middle ground — somewhere between too heavy fruity and just flavored ice.”
Then there were the bars that were too sweet. “Like the lemonade at Hot Dog on a Stick,” noticed a teen, trying the Safeway Lemonade Fruit Bars ($3.99 for six bars at Vons).
Its cousin, Safeway Mandarin Orange ($3.99 for six bars), had its sweetness dialed back — more fruity and less icy.