Whatever the season, there is always a time when fruit bowls look a little bit worse for wear. Even if you try to make sure overripe fruits at the bottom of the bowl make it back to the top, some produce always ends up rotting away.
From banana bread to vegan cakes, there are many delicious ways to repurpose brown bananas. But what about other bruised or overripe fruits? Unless they have developed some unsightly mould, there is no reason to throw them away. Use your own judgement. Anything too furry or mouldy is probably better in the compost.
Here are some of my top tips to use up overripe fruits with some basic recipe guidelines that you can adapt to whatever you have. Remember to wash the fruits well, remove the decaying bits and only use the parts that are still edible.
MAKE A COMPOTE
Compote is a simple stewed dish made of fruits and sugar. It works with any type of fruits and you can even mix and match different flavours such as apple and raspberry, pear and cherries, mango and kiwi etc…
You can use compote to top toasts, waffles, crepes or to flavour and sweeten smoothie bowls, yoghurts etc… It also makes a delicious treat on its own.
Basic Compote Recipe: cut fruits into pieces removing any rotten bits. Place in a saucepan with 2-3 Tbsp or water,1-2 Tbsp of sugar and 1/2 juice of lemon (you can also add a bit of vanilla, ground ginger, ground cinnamon etc.. to suit your own taste). Bring to a gentle boil and cook for 5 to 10 mins until soft. Mash fruits. Add more sugar if needed. Cool the compote down and store in the fridge in an airtight container.
FREEZE IT FOR LATER
Most fruits will keep in the freezer for up to 18 months, so if you cannot find an immediate use for them simply wash any fruits that are past their best and remove any spoilt bits. Cut them into pieces and place flat in a freezer bag. Once frozen, the pieces won’t stick to one another so you can gather them together and keep the fruit pieces in the freezer ready to use in your next smoothie.
BLEND IN SMOOTHIES OR SMOOTHIE BOWLS
As soon as she finds a black spot or a slightly bruised bit, my daughter is quick to discard an entire piece of fruit. As a results, our family morning smoothies include a mixture of different ingredients that would have otherwise gone to waste. If the flavours do not blend well, I generally use a bit of fruit juice to balance it all. To get a “decent” colour smoothie, I try to add neutral shade fruits as well as produce of similar pigmentation. Check my handy guide on How To Make A Smoothie Without A Recipe.
If you find yourself with fruits that needs using ASAP, you can simply add them to an apple crumble or a fruit tart. No one will notice and you will avoid wasting it.
I love adding fruits to savoury soup recipes to help balance or enhance the flavours of other ingredients as in this Jerusalem Artichoke, Celeriac and Apple Soup below. My favourite fruits to use in soup include apple, pear and quince.
Jam is my favourite way of using leftover fruits. Over the summer, I made a couple of jars with a handful of gooseberries from the garden, two rhubarb stalks that were past their best and the last two handfuls of our garden plums. Great combo! If I am not sure how well the jam is going to set, I use jam sugar with added pectin.
Basic Jam Recipe: In a heavy bottom pan, mix together 500g of fruits and 1/2 lemon juice . Bring slowly to the boil and cook gently until the fruits are soft. Add 500g of sugar (with pectin if needed) and dissolve in the fruit mixture. You can use slightly less sugar but a 1:1 fruit/ sugar ratio is a safe guideline. Bring back the fruit mixture to the boil and cook for around 20 mins stirring often so that the jam does not stick to the pan. You can test if the jam is ready by pouring a little bit of hot jam on a cold saucer. If the surface of the jam wrinkles, it is ready to be poured in sterilised jam jars.