Recently I was approached by Blogher to write a piece on leftovers for their Leftover Makeovers series. It’s been a while since I’ve done a writing assignment so I gladly accepted the opportunity. Here’s my feature on ideas for working with leftover fruit. It took me quite a while to compile these ideas, so I hope you find them helpful!
When I was little, a harvest of fruit from my mom’s garden, a return from picking at the orchards, or a great discount during the last minutes of the farmers market meant only one thing: a race to consume as much fruit as possible before it spoiled and the fruit flies took over.
My family ate fruit for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner. We consumed apricots, peaches, and plums in the double digits, daily. At first it was enjoyable, even exhilarating. But after a few days, it would get tiring and repetitive, and keeping up consumption with supply always seemed to be a losing war.
When I moved out on my own, gifts of boxes of fruit gave me a headache. Without my siblings, I couldn’t possibly consume all of it. Then I started my food blog, and found all sorts of recipes and ideas for using leftover fruit. So now when I get presented with boxes of fresh fruit, I say “Bring it on. I’m ready for the challenge.”
Summer is a bountiful season for so many of my favorite fruits. I love them all — peaches, cherries, strawberries, apricots, mangoes, and lychee. I still always end up with more fruit that I can eat, though, so I find other uses. I bake, I freeze, I puree. Here are some of my favorite ways to use up too much fruit.
1. Baked goods
The possibilities are endless: fruit crumble, fruit pies, fruit loaf cakes, tea cakes. You can add fruit to almost any baked good to use up leftovers. Some of my favorite recipes include:
Making smoothies, fresh juice, or fruit milk is a great way to fulfill your daily fruit requirements and use up a lot of fruit.
There are many smoothie recipes out there, or you can invent your own. I like to blend all of my favorite berries into one and add some ice and yogurt for a nice mixed berry smoothie.
During the summer, my mom makes refreshing and thirst-quenching watermelon juice to eat with our meals. You can use the watermelon parts closest to the rind that usually get thrown away, cut them into small cubes, and blend until smooth with a little bit of sweetener, like sugar or agave nectar.
Fruit milk is something you’ll often see at bubble tea shops. One of my favorites is papaya milk. Other versions I’ve seen include strawberry, blueberry, and honeydew.
3. Fruit Roll-Ups. I haven’t tried this yet, but I love the idea of making your own fruit leather. Here’s a recipe I’ve bookmarked to try from Roost.
4. Fruit Jams. I don’t have much patience for sitting over a stove, so I haven’t made it myself, but I do enjoy the taste of homemade jam. Friends have gifted me with some delicious ones using the fruits from their gardens. Here’s a recipe for 30 minute homemade jams from Simple Bites that I’m itching to try.
5. Ice Pops.
Homemade ice pops are so easy to make, and perfect for summer. I no longer buy them, and just make my own, which I like because I can create flavors I can’t find in the grocery store. Some ideas for fruit-themed ones are juice pops with fruit pieces inside, yogurt fruit pops, or fruit puree pops. For something a little more grown-up, you can even make sangria ice pops.
Juice Pops- Pour your favorite juice into the ice molds. Add pieces of fruit. Place in freezer until set.
Yogurt Pops- Mix your favorite yogurt with pieces of fresh fruit. Pour into ice molds and freeze until set.
Sangria Pops- Make your favorite sangria cocktail. Pour into molds and freeze until set.
Fruit Puree Pops- Puree your favorite fruits and pour into molds. For a more visually appealing effect, select different color fruits, puree them separately, then pour each individually into molds partway in order to stack the different colors. Two or three different fruits work best.
6. Ice Cream.
7. Party Appetizers.
8. Dried fruit.
Last but not least, you can dry fruit. It is my go-to method when I have pounds of fruit about to spoil. It’s amazing how fruit shrinks once it is dried. Ten pounds of apricot can fit into a single plastic bag once it’s dried. And because the water has been eliminated, you are able to consume much more dried fruit than fresh fruit. I use a fruit dehydrator because you can let it sit and dry all day, but you can also use an oven.
So there you have them — thirty recipes for using up leftover fruit. No more throwing away rotten fruit or batting away fruit flies. As the fruit trees continue to blossom, you can embrace summer’s sweet offerings and enjoy fruit in many different ways.
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