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A Memorial Day frozen tradition

Memorial Day is a holiday of tradition and of transition. It's the last holiday before the school year ends and marks a rush into the days of finals, graduation and the anticipation of a few precious months of freedom. It's also time to remember those who came before us, whether we share stories or cut purple irises to lay on quiet graves. And it's a time to gather together and share food.

Because Memorial Day tends to get some decent weather, it's often the first time most of us pull out the backyard grill and put a char on hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken and steak. Even better, it marks a time when frozen treats from Popsicles to home-cranked ice cream soothe the stomach and the tongue.

With the availability of fresh berries, it's a good time to get those ice cream makers cranking. If you start with a good vanilla base, it's easy to create a “build your own” style ice cream bar for the holiday with fruits, sauces and creams to dress up your churn (or just eat it right out of the freezer container with a spoon, we won't tell).

However, if you don't have an ice cream maker, or want something that is delicious but requires a little less kitchen wizardry, try this tropical freeze.

This recipe has made the rounds at parties over the years. Variations often include maraschino cherries, shredded coconut, whipped cream or nuts, but the original is simple. It's an easy enough recipe that kids can help with the planning, preparation and serving, which is a great way to build your family food traditions and escape from the heat.

Tropical Fruit Freeze

1 quart pineapple sherbet (lemon is also very good but harder to find)

2 cups fresh or frozen berries (raspberries, sliced strawberries, blueberries or blackberries)

3 bananas, sliced

Soften sherbet and move to a medium bowl. Fold in frozen fruits. Add fresh fruit and stir to combine. Scoop into a 9-by-13-inch dripper pan, cover with plastic wrap and freeze until hard, ideally overnight. Serve plain or garnish with whipped cream and mint leaves.

— Julie Barnson

Jana Brown is a writer, wife and mother. She is an excellent cook and avid eater of good food. Catch her at or tweet along @Cornabys.