11 Ways To Use Overripe Fruit

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Please tell me I’m not the only one who has this sad problem: I get so excited to see beautiful produce in the store, buy more than can possibly be consumed by my household, and end up throwing lots of it out when it’s gone past its prime. And for some reason, when I buy fruit that needs to ripen a bit more at home, it goes from hard to mushy before I can catch it. What a waste! No one wants to see good food go in the garbage, so if you have this problem, too, you’ll be very happy to know that there are some smart and delicious ways to salvage your fruit!

  1. Smoothies. You knew I was gonna say that, didn’t you? Any fruit is good in a smoothie, and it’s a great opportunity to be creative. Store cut up fruit and your berries in ziploc bags in the freezer and you’re ready to pop them in the blender whenever you want to whip up a smoothie.
  2. Crisps and pies. Crisp, cobblers… whatever you call them, they’re delicious! Toss the fruit with a little bit of lemon juice and sugar, top with your favorite crumb topping and bake. Or use it as a pie filling. Add some ice cream and you’ve got the perfect dessert.
  3. Jam. Making your own jam is easy and so much tastier than store-bought.
  4. Muffins, breads, and pancakes. Throw the fruit into the batter and bake as usual. It sometimes helps to coat the pieces of fruit or the berries with a little bit of flour so they don’t sink to the bottom.
  5. Sauce. Make a fruit sauce to use as a topping for cakes or pancakes.
  6. Banana ice cream. Peel and slice overripe bananas and freeze them. Whir them up in the food processor for an instant, one-ingredient, fat-free ice cream!
  7. Extend the life of your berries. I can’t vouch for this one because I’ve never tried it but it looks interesting: Dunk berries in warm water for 30 seconds. Drain and dry on paper towels and they should last another day or two.
  8. DIY fruit roll-up. Your kids- and the kid in you- will love this. And the best part is no artificial ingredients! Try this easy recipe from Food Network.
  9. Salad dressings. Puree almost any fruit and add it to your favorite dressing for a change. I can’t wait to try this recipe for Roasted Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette.
  10. Popsicles. Yum! Get creative mixing fruits and adding flavors, like vanilla, rum, cinnamon…
  11. Freeze them. Freeze berries whole, but cut up other fruit before freezing. You can use them later for any of these ideas, but frozen fruit is a delicious, guilt-free treat just on its own.

So, at the end of the day, the sad story of the overripe fruit gets a very happy ending. You might even find yourself buying extra fruit on purpose!

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