This past Christmas, we surprised my daughter with a Yonana machine – an electric kitchen appliance that turns frozen fruit into a soft serve treat called Yonanas. My daughter is a vegan so fruit is a big part of her diet and although the majority of fruit she eats is fresh, more than a portion of our freezer is allocated to frozen fruit for her daily smoothies. Sometimes I open the freezer and think Carmen Miranda is looking back at me only to realize its a frozen fruit fest. There are piles of frozen mangos, blueberries, strawberries, pineapples, cantaloupes, raspberries, blackberries, and most popular of all – bananas.
The Yonana is made by Dole and is an easy-to-operate machine that uses frozen fruit to make a soft serve treat. Just peel ripe bananas and store in a plastic bag along with other fruit in the freezer until ready to use. The fruit should be completely frozen before using although we found through trial and error, the machine works best after the frozen fruit has thawed slightly on the counter for 8-10 minutes. We also realized the banana is the foundation of the soft serve because it provides the creamy texture. Using other fruits alone produces a soft serve more like a sorbet.
To make the soft serve, simply feed the fruit into the machine using the plunger to push the fruit down where a bowl captures the soft serve treat. As you’re enjoying Yonanas you will question whether you’re really eating just fruit because the texture is so creamy and smooth. Consider alternating and combining frozen fruits: my daughter particularly enjoys bananas and pineapples while bananas, mangos and blueberries are my favorite. The machine works very efficiently and is very easy to clean (even though there is a slight accumulation of the soft serve inside the machine parts) and reassemble.
Every time we make Yonanas, we wonder why Yonana shops haven’t sprung open across the country because the end product tastes so rich, creamy, and healthy. Dairy-free, the Yonanas is the holy grail for those who are lactose intolerant or follow a vegan diet. For the rest of us, Yonanas is just a great healthy soft serve treat.
Available nationwide at Target, Best Buy, Wegman’s, BJ’s, Ace Hardware or on-line via Amazon, the Yonana machine sells for about $50.