Stories / Recipes

5 Easy Ways to Use Up Summer Fruit Before It Goes Bad

Anya Hoffman

Anya Hoffman

July 21, 2015


Summer fruit is so precious and fleeting, sometimes it can be hard to hold back at the market. We come home loaded down with baskets of cherries and blueberries, quarts of tiny plums and fuzzy peaches. And inevitably some of it ends up crossing the line between peak ripeness and too-mushy-to-eat-raw, and we toss it. But this summer, make it your mission not to let over-ripe fruit go to waste. Transform those bruised nectarines, mushy apricots, and smashed strawberries into jams, scones, homemade cocktails, smoothies. Make the most of the season. Leave no stone fruit unturned. Here's how:

1) Make a hodgepodge compote: peel and dice whichever fruits have become mushy and over-ripe: peaches, apricots, cherries, rhubarb, it doesn't matter. In a medium saucepan, combine the fruit, a squeeze of lemon, and a couple of heaping tablespoons of granulated sugar. Simmer on low heat until the fruit has broken down and the mixture is beginning to thicken, about 10-15 minutes. Taste. If it's too tart add more sugar until it tastes right. Set aside until cool and then refrigerate for up to two weeks. Spoon the compote over yogurt and sprinkle with almonds, or slather it on a thick slice of toast.

2) Dice or purée the fruit and use it to make crazy-good pancakes.

3) Make a crisp: top chopped, lightly sweetened fruit with a crumbly mix of butter, oats, flour, and sugar, and bake at 400 degrees F until the top is browned and the mixture is bubbling.

4) Use the fruit to make a shrub or to flavor cocktails.

5) Macerate the fruit with Pinot Noir and use it to make a stunning sorbet.

Don't have time to make any of the above? Just peel and chop the fruit, place in a plastic bag, then stick the bag in your freezer and hope you figure out what to do with it later. Seriously. The prepping is half the battle.

Anya Hoffman is a freelance writer and contributing editor at the James Beard Foundation. Find her on Twitter.