It won’t be long until the crisp mornings begin to settle in and dew keeps on the garden grass.The last of the summer fruits are beginning to ripen and some people are left feeling overwhelmed at the vast amounts going to waste. It can feel more like a chore trying to eat it all than a pleasure. Ideas may be drying up along with the fruit.
Don’t worry any longer. With a bit of perseverance and a bit of time you can try some of these ideas for inspiration. The following is just a scratch on the surface of fun and creative things to do with all that fruit.
Freezing Excess Fruit
Of course, the easiest thing to do is to store all of the excess fruit in containers or freezer bags and store them in the freezer. If you have enough storage space, this is ideal so that you can come back to the fruit when you are ready for it. From there the options are wide open. Frozen fruit makes great additions to soups and stews, too. Fruit may be stored up to one year.
Making Spicy Marmalade or Chutney with Excess Fruit
Canning is the second most popular method of using all the fruit from the garden. Jars of jelly and jam make great gifts, too. They taste good and they can look expensive with a little effort. But have you considered adding some spice to the mix? This will largely liven the batch. Ginger and cinnamon are the best spices to use. Add them by the teaspoon or ½ teaspoon until you get your desired taste. These make wonderful sauces over salads, stir-fries and meat dishes. You might be surprised how they delight the taste buds.
Making Fruit Roll-ups with Excess Fruit
What an ideal way to use up the imperfect batches of fruit. Peaches, plums, blackberries, cherries all make great fruit roll-ups. Mash or puree the fruit first. Get a tray and line it with kitchen paper. Pour the mix onto the paper and set it in the sun. You may need to add a bit of water to the puree if it is too thick and some sweetener if it is too sharp. Depending on where you live, in a couple of days this should be ready to roll. Cut them to the desired size with kitchen scissors before you roll them. Then put them in a container or plastic bag and it will keep in the fridge for a year as long as they stay dry. These are perfect for school or travel snacks and hiking.
Making Ice Cream or Sorbet with Excess Fruit
This is perhaps one of the more fun ways to get the kids involved. And it is quick and easy. Ice cream makers have become the latest trend over the course of the hot summer. Once you choose your vanilla or chocolate or sweet cream base add ½ cup of your favorite fruit juice or mix in 1 cup of whole fruit into the batch. If you have the time and desire, an even better way is to puree the fruit first.
Perhaps the idea of sorbet scintillates you. These are even easier, believe it or not. And with a bit more effort, you can make a dinner party a huge success by using a mold. When you turn the sorbet out onto a plate, dazzle it up with some fresh mint or fruit and leaves. Drizzle some Rose syrup or honey across the top. To be completely posh, put the sorbet in a wine glass and then drizzle some liqueur over it. Either way gives an elegant and simple touch to the dessert.
Making Stir-Fry with Excess Fruit
Maybe you never considered adding your garden or orchard fruit to a stir-fry, but they are an excellent addition as long as you don’t overdo it. Just before pulling off the pan from the heat, toss in a few blackberries, currants, pomegranate or apples to the mix. Add a bit of honey and a pinch of cinnamon to get the palate stimulated.
Making Ice Cubes with Excess Fruit
Using all the extra fruit from the garden doesn’t have to be difficult. Lay out blueberries, currents, blackberries, cut up apples or peaches or whatever fruit you are harvesting on a flat surface such as a tray. Put them in the freezer for a day. Then transfer them into a freezer bag or container. Use them as ice cubes. Put them in a jug of water or punch and let the flavor absorb for few hours to give a light, fruity taste. These are ideal for holiday drinks, too, and an ideal way to impress the guests.
Making Syrup with Excess Fruit
Making syrup with leftover fruit is easy. It doesn’t take the time or effort of trying to set jam. Grind the fruit and pour out the juice into a pan. Sweeten it to taste. Heat and stir it until it starts to thicken. Then pour it into sterilized jars. Like spicy marmalades and chutneys, syrup can be used over stir-fries and salads. But perhaps the favorite way is on top of ice cream or pancakes.
Making Fruit-flavored Balsamic Vinegar with Excess Fruit
One final way listed here to use all that fruit is to make fruit vinegars. For a few pennies you can find nice vinegar jars. Put some fruit pieces into the bottle. Blackberries, pomegranates and blueberries are ideal. Some people will like the vinegar to sting with spice and may want to try chilies. Fill up the jars with balsamic vinegar. Add some decoration and you have just made a great holiday gift that looks classy.
With time set aside and the decision to spend a half a day or so using all the fruit you harvested can be enjoyable and good therapy. Homemade marmalades and sauces, ice cream, and natural fruit flavorings in dishes are the better option to store-bought products. With these helpful suggestions, there is no need for any fruit to go wasted. Get family and friends involved and make it a social event. Hopefully these ideas have helped to get you “stirring”.
By Jori Sams