Uses for Overripe Peaches

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Peaches are at their best when the fruit has just a little give when gently pressed with a fingertip. Any softer and they're overripe, and prone to bruising and splitting. But don't toss those overripe peaches on the counter. You may not want to eat it out of hand, but as long as the peach isn't moldy or brown, you can use it in pureed form.

Smoothies

Add chunks of overripe peach to your next morning smoothie. A little yogurt and a little honey are all you need before blending it and pouring it into a tall glass -- you don't even need to peel the peach if you don't want to, although peeling helps keep the texture smooth. Add bananas, mangoes, apple or orange juice and perhaps a dash of cinnamon and/or vanilla for delicious variations.

Sauces

Peel overripe peaches, cut out any bruised bits and puree the flesh with a little water in a food processor or blender to make a quick dessert sauce. You may need to add a little brown sugar to taste. For a fancier sauce, try cooking the peach puree with sugar, lemon zest and whisky or rum. Try it over pancakes, French toast or pound cake in an adult ice cream sundae.

Alternatively, you can make a sauce for meat by flavoring a simple puree of overripe peaches with a touch of balsamic or champagne vinegar. Serve the sauce with grilled or roasted pork tenderloin.

Jam and Preserves

Use pureed overripe peaches for jam or cooked chunks of overripe peaches to make homemade preserves. Peel the peaches first. Experiment with adding spices such as ginger, cinnamon or mint to the mix. Peach preserves can be canned at home using the traditional water-bath method. Follow instructions carefully to avoid spoilage.

Juices

If you have a juicer or blender than can be used to juice fruit, overripe peaches are a prime candidate to be turned into a glass of fresh juice.

Ice Cream

Use chopped overripe peaches to flavor ice cream in an ice cream maker. You do not need to peel the peaches.

Frozen Bars

If you don't have an ice cream maker but crave a frozen peachy treat, make frozen bars. Peel the overripe peaches if desired, then puree them. Mix the puree with simple syrup and water or orange juice. Add vanilla extract, grated fresh ginger or chopped mint leaves if desired. Pour the mix into freezer molds. If you don't have molds, you use small paper cups. Freeze them until they are slushy, then insert the handles; freeze until solid.

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