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

Boiling Crab, a Vietnamese Cajun style chain of restaurants that has become hugely popular in Southern California, recently opened it’s first location in San Diego.

I actually never had much of an interest in visiting the chain. I had previously visited Crab Hut, a similar style restaurant, and hadn’t liked it enough to revisit. However, I was curious, and it so happened that I needed to be in Mira Mesa to do some errands and decided to check it out for lunch.

We arrived shortly before 12, which is when they open on weekends, and found a line already outside the door. Seriously? Given the fact that it was about 95 degrees outside, we sat in our air conditioned car, waited until they opened the doors, and then went in.

The restaurant has a very fun atmosphere. Walls are full of customer autographs and drawings. At the table, a fresh sheet of drawing paper is draped over the table for easy clean-up. The main focus of the menu is their steamed seafood offerings. You choose a sauce, a spice level, and you order seafood by the pound. When the food is done cooking, the waiters bring it over with a bucket, and drops a steaming hot plastic bag full of your seafood entrees onto the table.

The restaurant also offers some fried items and side dishes as well. Live seafood prices are listed on the front whiteboard.

If you plan on eating here, you should plan on getting messy. It’s all about digging in, getting your hands dirty, and breaking open the seafood shells that are smothered in sauce. Plastic bibs are provided and I’d recommend you wear them or risk getting splattered with sauce.

Crawfish with rajun cajun sauce

My mind has been bubbling with avocado recipes, trying to use up all the avocados I received recently. It was finally cool enough the other night for me to turn on my oven and I immediately wanted to make this avocado chiffon cake.

It  also gave me a chance to try out this super cute, completely unneeded, egg separator. I found it randomly on a website and then was looking everywhere for it. I could only find it on sites in the UK. In a complete impulse buy, I bought it from a UK business through ebay.