Last week I shared ten recipes for using leftover meat. Now let’s talk about how to use extra or overripened fruits and vegetables. I’m going to highlight ten of the produce items that we eat most frequently and explain how we implement the “if you can use it, don’t throw it” principle at our house.
When the peel is heavily spotted and turning brown, a common way to use bananas is to make them into banana bread or muffins. Slightly ripened (with a few brown spots), bananas are good in Chocolate Banana Cake or Banana Cream Dessert. Or how about a homemade banana face mask? They’re also at the perfect stage for smoothies because the riper the banana gets, the sweeter it is!
A couple of years ago I began looking for things to do with very ripe or soft pears. I discovered that they add lots of sweet taste and moisture to baked goods. Our favorite recipe so far is Autumn Pear Bread. You can also make unsweetened pear sauce (which is really good on toast, in oatmeal or as baby food) or pear butter.
If your carrots begin to lose their crisp, chop or puree them for soups, stews or homemade pasta sauce. We found this to be a good use for the huge amount of garden carrots that seemed to be ready all at once!
Slightly overripe apples are very good for pies, this amazing applesauce or Fall Apple Quick Bread.
6. Corn on the Cob
We love fresh corn on the cob but find it impossible to use all we are kindly given by an awesome lady in our church in the few days before it becomes tough and tasteless. Making and freezing creamed corn is how we keep it from going to waste.
7. Citrus Fruits (Lemons, Oranges, Limes)
Either these fruits are good or bad, so it seems. There’s no in-between (at least in my experience). If I have a large amount to use before they get brown and squishy, I’ll juice lemons, limes and oranges into ice cube trays and freeze for future recipes.
Any type of berry is the perfect building block for a smoothie but there are other ways to use extra seasonal fruits too! For example, spread your extra blueberries onto a jelly roll pan and freeze until firm. Doing it this way keeps them from becoming one big clump. Then divide into bags to use in said smoothies, pies, compotes or muffins (may I suggest this recipe?).
Yup, I just mentioned berries in #8 but I found a great article on four methods for using strawberries and wanted to share it with you!
Are your potatoes starting to grow eyes? Peel them, remove any blemishes and mash ‘em! You can also plant a sprouted potato in your garden or compost the really wrinkly ones along with other fruit and vegetable peelings for rich planting soil.
How do you use extra or overripe fruits and veggies?
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