How to Use Overripe Fruit

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Overripe bananas make the best banana bread.
Overripe bananas make the best banana bread. (Image: fotosuper/iStock/Getty Images)

The secret to using overripe fruit is to choose a method of preparation that does not rely on visual presentation. After all, as long as it's not moldy or rotting, overripe fruit often has an intense concentration of flavors. The too-soft texture of overripe fruit also usually leaves something to be desired. Cooking or pureeing the fruit solves this problem.

Compote

Fruit compote is a French dessert consisting of whole or diced fruit cooked with sugar and spices. It often is served over ice cream. Compotes may be made from one fruit or from a mixture; figs, peaches, apricots, cherries and other stone fruit, apples and pears are common choices, but you can add berries, currants and even dried fruit to the mix. Choose warm spices such as ginger and cinnamon for flavoring as well as vanilla and anise or even a dash of green or black tea. Compote can be served immediately, stored in the refrigerator or frozen for later use.

Breads and Muffins

Incorporate a mash or puree of overripe fruit into quick breads and muffins. Banana bread may be the most well known of these types of recipes; using ripe bananas, the flavor is bland, but overripe, brown and soft bananas have the intensity of flavor a banana bread requires. Rough chop stone fruit or strawberries, add it to a basic quick bread or muffin recipe and you'll have a dish worthy of breakfast, teatime or as a snack.

Sauces

Mash, puree or roughly chop overripe bananas, stone fruit or berries. Add it to a pan with a little bit of butter and a small amount of brown sugar and cook until syrupy. Spoon over pancakes, waffles or ice cream or fold it into crepes for a satisfying dessert. Omit the sugar and add a splash of balsamic vinegar and you have a fruit sauce to serve with meat such as pork chops or roast.

Smoothies

If you don't want to cook your overripe fruit, add it to a fruit smoothie. The soft quality of overripe berries and stone fruit makes it ideal for pureeing along with milk, almond milk, coconut milk, water, yogurt or just fruit juice and ice. Add any additions that appeal to you, such as protein powder, flax or chia seeds, avocado, kale and spices such as ginger, cinnamon, vanilla and mint. You can freeze packets of mixed overripe fruit to throw into your breakfast smoothie in the morning -- no need to thaw.

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