The Judge Fro Fru (JEA62) is a clever little machine that makes frozen desserts instantly by grinding up frozen fruit and other ingredients. It's pricier than some basic ice cream makers but it has two distinct advantages over them: you don't have to pre-freeze a bowl and you can make healthy alternatives to ice cream.
It's compact and looks good, in bright red. It doesn't look like an ice cream maker, it's mysterious looking, and it's fantastic little machine for fun, healthy and tasty desserts.
We're guessing the Fro Fru's name is short for frozen fruit because that's the main ingredient you put in this clever little machine. You throw them into the tube at the top and the frozen dessert comes out below.
The design is compact: it has a small footprint, but a tall feed tube sticks out of the top and a plunger for pushing the fruit down.
Before you start you need some frozen fruit. You can buy bags of frozen berries in the supermarket, but that misses the point because this machine is perfect for using up leftovers.
If you see something in the fruit bowl that's past its best, chop it into small pieces (removing skins and pips) and pop it in the freezer for later. Then feed it into this machine for some dessert alchemy.
Bananas, berries, apples, pears, mango and more all work well in it. Because they're naturally sweet, you don't need to add sugar. This makes Fro Fru desserts very different to traditional sorbets, which are made from fruit juice and sugar.
You can also freeze diary products like cream, milk and yogurt in an ice cube tray and then add them to the Fro Fru, or even add pieces of chocolate (not frozen).
We piled frozen banana slices into the Fro Fru, flicked the switch and then pushed down – fairly hard – with the plunger to push them through the machine. Hey presto, a ribbon of frozen dessert emerged from the nozzle below.
Using the machine was fun, enough so that well-supervised children would enjoy it. And they'd definitely enjoy the dessert. It emerges with a nice, ready-to-eat texture that's surprisingly smooth.
What’s more, it tastes sweet. If you ate it alongside sugary ice cream, you'd disagree because the sugar would eclipse it. But eaten solo it's plenty sweet enough to make an enjoyable, healthy dessert. Impressive.
We did try putting in squares of dark chocolate too, which worked but it wasn't really needed – the fine pieces of chocolate this added to the banana dessert didn't make much difference to the flavour. It added a slight crunch to the texture, but ground nuts would achieve the same thing.
Also, it's worth noting that the ingredients don't get mixed much. So if you want to make, say, a banana and strawberry dessert you should alternate fruits as you put them in the feed tube: it's either that or get two different flavours out of the other end and mix them later.
The instructions suggested only using the Fro Fru for 5 minutes at a time, presumably to avoid overheating. We didn't find this a problem as it makes most sense to load it up, grind for a minute, then switch off while loading up the next pile of fruit.
Cleaning was fine. The machine comes apart into three pieces and these are easy to wash if you do so promptly before the fruit gets dried on. Everything except the main body is dishwasher safe too.
Dessert frozen overnight tasted good the next day, but the texture was harder so it needed some time to soften before eating. That said, because the Fro Fru is instant it seems best suited to making desserts on demand.
Yes, if you want a healthy frozen dessert. This magically transforms leftover fruit into healthy desserts that taste good and sweet enough… just as long as you don't try them alongside something sugary.
It's a great option for parents (disguise children's five-a-day as ice cream!), vegans (although you can make dairy-based desserts in it too) and anyone looking to reduce sugar. But if you'd prefer a traditional ice cream and sorbet maker consider the great-value Swan Come Dine With Me Ice Cream & Gelato Maker.
This clever machine makes frozen fruit desserts so tasty your five-a-day will feel like a treat.