Earlier this week we gave you some tips on using unripe fruit. But there's the other end of the spectrum — fruit that's about to give up the ghost.
Read our suggestions for using it fast...
Fruit that's soft and squishy can serve a lot of purposes. Even if it's wrinkled and has lost much of its juice, it can still be used in recipes where it's cooked down or baked (in other words, you don't need it to be plump and pretty). Here are our suggestions:
Make a quick bread. Of course, we all know brown bananas are great for banana bread. But peaches, nectarines, and strawberries are also great in breads or muffins.
Make jam. Dana gave us a great strawberry refrigerator jam, using up some overripe strawberries. Jam involves nothing more than boiling down fruit with sugar and a little lemon juice — it's going to get soft, mushy, and slightly browner anyway.
Put it in a cobbler. Use our template for easy cobbler for any fruit. It's a great way to use up a large quantity.
Mash it up for pancakes. When we wrote about blueberry pancakes on Monday, a reader named Marisa emailed to tell us about her boyfriend's tip of smashing blueberries with a potato masher, then blending them into his batter so it turns purple. We love it! We're imagining pink-tinted pancakes made with mashed up strawberries, or orange-tinted ones from overripe peaches and nectarines.
Cook it down into a sauce for meat. Overripe fruit, if it hasn't lost all of its juice, can still impart some good flavor to a sauce. Chop it into small bits (or whiz it in a blender) and add it to some chicken stock and balsamic vinegar to make a glaze or sauce for meat. You could even substituted it for the apricot jam in our Chicken with Shallot-Apricot Sauce.
Blend it into a salad dressing.If it doesn't look pretty enough to chop on top of your salad (like Laure's lovely peach version), put it in a blender with some olive oil, vinegar, herbs, and seasonings. It can make a great, sweet dressing for a salad with some salty nuts or cheese.
What else would you do with overripe fruit?