Don't sleep on canned fruit. Yes, the thought of canned fruit likely brings to mind something mushy or overcooked, or swimming in sugary syrup. But not all canned fruit is bad canned fruit — I promise! In fact, I always have the following three canned fruits on hand for baking, cooking, and making cocktails.
Whether you buy them in rings, chunks, or crushed, we love canned pineapple for its reliably consistent flavor. It bakes up beautifully, whether it adorns the top of a pineapple upside-down cake or makes for a moist, tender crumb in a hummingbird cake. Canned pineapple can also be used to flavor pork or chicken for quick carnitas, and makes a fine pitcher cocktail.
What to buy: Look for canned pineapple in juices (not syrup). Rings tend to be the most versatile (you can cut them into chunks or crush them for baking), but we tend to keep a can of crushed around too for impromptu baking.
Canned Pineapple Recipes
Fresh sour cherries have a short-lived season, and aren't available to purchase everywhere. Lucky for us, canned sour cherries are sold in most grocery stores, and are easy to find online.
What to buy: Nomenclature notwithstanding, we actually prefer jarred sour cherries to canned and here's why: A jar of sour cherries gets cooked less in packing, so the fruit has more bite than the canned variety. Grab jarred sour cherries in juice or water. Plus, a jar gives you a resealable lid so you can keep these cherries in the fridge and use as needed.
Sour Cherry Recipes
In Southern culture, homemade canned peaches are right up there with your MawMaws cast iron skillet, and for good reason — canned peaches are everything you imagine a juicy summer peach should taste like, without the pit or fuzzy skin. But store-bought canned peaches (or, even better, ones from the famers market) are a fine substitute. In fact, one of the best midwinter desserts I ever ate was warmed canned peaches with their syrup over vanilla ice cream.
What to buy: Personally, I live for canned peach halves in light syrup. You're most likely to find them at a farm stand rather than the grocery store, where they'll be mushy and cheaper, too. Jarred peach slices in light syrup are your next best bet — Costco's Kirkland Signature Peaches are a fine example.
Get a recipe: How To Make the Easiest Gluten-Free Fruit Cobbler