What Do I Do with Overripe Fruit

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Are you one of those people who are a bit picky with their fruit, like it’s got to be the exact ripeness or you can’t eat it? Instead, maybe you’re someone who is starting to feel guilty about how much fruit you’re throwing away? Or maybe you’re lucky enough to have a couple of fruit trees or have been to a farmers market recently and have an overload of fruit?

No matter how you’ve come by your overripe fruit, it can be a bit of a pain to come up with interesting and versatile recipes. I mean I’m the same; I only eat bananas at the specific ripeness I like and I can’t stand a squishy pear or peach. So I go through periods of having too much fruit and needing to do something with them because I really don’t want to throw it all away.

So if you’re like me and need to do something with some overripe fruit I have 5 ideas for you to get you thinking and so you’ll know exactly what to do with your fruit next time you need to use it up.

Idea 1 – Jam

Jam is a great thing to make with overripe fruit because you need to cook it down anyway so it doesn’t matter if the fruit is way too soft. And there are literally no bounds on the types or combinations of jam you can make. For example:

  • Fig jam.
  • Pear and raspberry jam.
  • Three berry jam – raspberry, blueberries and blackberries.
  • Peach and orange marmalade.
  • Pear and vanilla jam.
  • Apple and rhubarb jam.
  • Lemon and ginger jam.
  • Peach and ginger jam.
  • Kiwifruit and apple jam.

I made my own orange jam, strawberry jam and apple and pear jam – all but the strawberry jam was successful! I learnt pretty quickly that jam needs pectin to set, and some fruits are higher in pectin than others, so add some lemon to your jam recipe and it should work well (citrus has a higher pectin count), or add a little bit of apple and it’s high in pectin as well.

So find a simple recipe (like I did with my orange jam) and then use it to make any type of fruit (considering the pectin issue) for yourself and see how great it can be to finally taste homemade jam. Send me a picture or a tweet on twitter with your new homemade jam, or tweet me a type of jam you really love @SpicedAnecdotes. I’d really love to hear from you about what you’ve made or what you want to make.

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Orange jam I made myself

Idea 2 – Compote

Compote sounds really fancy, but really it’s just cooked pieces of fruit that you can serve as a dessert with ice cream, custard or cream. It’s simple to make because you can cook the pieces of fruit on the stove in 20 minutes or less (depending on the type of fruit), and it’s versatile because you can throw in any type of fruit you have or any combination you like. You could cook any combination of:

  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Quinces
  • Rhubarb
  • Plumbs
  • Cherries
  • or any other fruit you like and don’t mind eating it warm.

By adding  some spices like cinnamon, cloves or nutmeg you can take the recipe to the next level. Or add some brown sugar for extra sweetness or a few drops of vanilla essence for a lovely flavour (or rose water, orange blossom water, etc). And you know what, no matter whether you add flavourings or not, you’ll love the compote as a warm dessert, but the leftovers are amazing on porridge the next morning too!

And if you really want a compote you can also make it using dried fruit, which you rehydrate with some water or apple/orange juice as it cooks. This is a great idea for a dessert if you’re out camping as it’s easier to pack the dried fruit. Tastes amazing as well.

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Plum compote over porridge

Idea 3 – Crumble

Now, for the fruit compote you can usually cook it on the stove, but you could also cook it in the oven. If you’re thinking about making a compote in the oven, then think about making it into a crumble instead because essentially a crumble is really just a compote with the crumble mix on top. Okay, so what’s the crumble mix? It’s just a mix of rolled oats, some brown sugar, something like cinnamon and some flour or some butter. You just mix it together with your fingers and then spoon it over the top of the fruit and bake in the oven. This makes a really yummy dessert that has the nice soft warm fruit and the crunchy topping. You can serve a crumble in a bowl or get fancy and layer it in a drinking glass or wine glass with some yoghurt, custard or ice cream. You’ll love it!

Idea 4 – Smoothies, Frappes and Juices

Smoothies are really fruit blended with milk and/or yoghurt to make a creamy fruity drink,  whereas frappes are icy blends of fruit with or without dairy (most often they’re flavoured with coffee). Juice on the other hand is really just the fruit by itself, but without the seeds, skin or pith/pulp. So when you’re trying to use up some overripe fruit a smoothie, frappe or juice might be the way to go instead of making something to eat.

If you don’t have a juicer, that’s okay, because you really don’t need another piece of equipment messing up your kitchen. Just put the unpeeled fruit in the blender – though remove any large stones that will ruin the machine! Things like kiwi seeds and orange seeds are okay, but the big seeds in lychees and peaches are not. Just blend the fruit and then pour it through a kitchen strainer lined with a tea towel so you’ll get a glass of juice free of junk. My husband swears by this method for his pomegranate juices.

When you make the smoothies or frappes you can just put all the ingredients in the blender and just mix them. Make sure if you’re making a frappe that you use a blender that has the ability to crush ice – some blenders are not designed or strong enough to blend ice so if you have one like this you might ruin the motor without realising.

The extra benefit of making smoothies, frappes and juices is that if you have leftovers you can always pour them into popsicle molds and freeze them to have as dessert another day. If you don’t have popsicle molds you can pour the mix into cheap plastic cups (like you’d use at a picnic) and add a wooden stick (use the ones for food not the craft ones!). When it comes time to eat the popsicle you can warm up the bottom of the cup and slide it off, or cut it away. Either way, you’re left with a yummy summertime treat that is also healthy and homemade.

Idea 5 – Muffins and Cakes

Overripe fruit is great to put in to muffins and cakes as the moist fruit also keeps the muffin/cake moist as well. You can actually lesson the fat content of muffins/cakes by putting mashed fruit into it, but be careful doing this as baking is a science so find a recipe that gives you proportions (otherwise your cake won’t turn out properly).

The other way to go is to make fruit cakes – and I don’t mean a fruit cake’ like the British have a Christmas, I mean a cake or a muffin with fruit in it, like an apple and cinnamon cake, banana bread, raspberry and white choc muffins or an upside down pineapple and coconut cake.

Individual slices of cake or muffins are great to freeze too so you can have a portioned treat after lunch or dinner or you can throw one in the kids’ lunchboxes – they will defrost by themselves before recess. If you’re at home and want a simple dessert, you can put a frozen slice of cake or a muffin in the microwave for 20-30 seconds (so delish!) and serve it with some thickened cream or custard for an decadent treat (or drizzle over some chocolate or caramel sauce and you’ve got an amazing dessert to serve unexpected guests).

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Fruit muffins

And after all these suggestions, if you just can’t find something to do with your overripe fruit then freeze it in peeled pieces in the freezer for another day when you have more time to cook. Frozen fruit can be blended to make simple and healthy sorbets or can be added frozen to cakes and muffins or you can warm them up and put them over porridge on a cold morning.

There are so many things you can do with overripe fruit, that really, it’s just up to the time you have available or the types of fruit you’ve got on hand. Best of luck with it and don’t forget to tweet me a picture of the homemade jam you lovingly made, or tweet me the type of jam you just can’t get enough of. Tweet me @SpicedAnecdotes, and I promise to respond to all tweets.

I’m off to slice some apples for tonight’s crumble….yum…

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