- What to Do With that Overripe Fruit?
What to Do With that Overripe Fruit?
it started like this... and ended like that
Hello fruit lovers!
Today we’re tackling the question of what to do with leftover fruit.
If you’re like me and just can’t bear the thought of throwing away those old wrinkled fruits, fret no more. This post is just for you!
Time for cleanup.
Go look in the forgotten corners of your fridge, in the baskets, and on your kitchen counter, and get all the old, wrinkled, bruised, too-soft, overripe, half-used, leftover fruit. We’ll give them new life.
I like it when nothing goes to waste.
Today we’re talking a fruitilicious drinkable compote!
When I was a child, my mom would once in a while simmer old fruits in water with cinnamon and lemon peel. As the fruity aroma filled the house, she’d have to chase me away from the brewing pot, or I would help myself to the whole thing…
No, seriously, how could I possibly resist that gorgeous fruit punch?
The recipe I found in an old family cook book originated in medieval central Europe. It’s referred to as ‘fruit soup’, and would be served as a refreshing, chilled light drink in the summer.
But if you prefer, you could serve it hot too.
A couple things to know before we start:
- This is a beverage, so go for juicy fruit.
- Opt for very ripe, to slightly overripe fruit. They’re usually sweeter and softer.
That said, the fruit should be in a reasonable state. If it’s rotting, moldy, or completely bad, I’m afraid you’ll have to throw it out.
- Flavor, sweetness and tartness all depend on the fruit you can find.
- There’s no added sugar in this recipe. We just let the fruit do the work.
The flavors will blend and concentrate while the compote is brewing, and you should expect a gentle fruity sweetness at the end.
- To peel or not to peel?
When the skin is edible and in good condition, this is really up to you.
You will save some precious time if you skip peeling, but take into account that not everybody is crazy about the skin in their drink.
- The color of your compote will depend on the fruits you put in, and can vary greatly, anywhere between yellow-orange to dark Burgundy red.
- Smaller pieces and softer fruit will significantly reduce cook time.
- For a thinner consistency use more water.
You will notice the very general nature of this recipe. That’s because it’s so totally versatile, that you can’t really go wrong with it.
A little anecdote:
The original recipe I found in my ancestors’ old cook book had only one line in it that said “toss all excess fruits into a large pot with lemon peel and cinnamon, and simmer in water till falls apart”.
I did try to be a little more specific in the instructions below…
- Making: about 15 minutes
- Cooking: a couple of hours
Makes: about 3 quarts
You will need:
A large pot or slow cooker
with a lid.
And any combination of the following fruit:
- A few pears, cored and cut into chunks
- A couple apples, cored and cut into chunks
- A few plums/peaches/nectarines, pitted and cut into chunks
- A bunch cranberries (halved if you like)
- A bunch grapes (halved if you like)
- A bunch strawberries, hulled
- A bunch raspberries
- A mango, peeled, pitted, and cut into chunks
- A few oranges/tangerines/clementines, peeled, seeded, and cut into chunks
- Any other juicy fruit (If needed: peeled, pitted, and cut into chunks)
- A few small pieces lemon peel
- A pinch cinnamon or 1-2 small cinnamon sticks
- A small squeeze fresh lemon or lime (no seeds)
How to make it:
- Place all fruits in slow cooker or pot.
- Pound the mixture with your fist or gently press with a potato masher to squeeze some juice out.
- Add lemon peel, cinnamon and lemon/lime squeeze. Stir.
- Cover with water.
Note: fruit does not need to be entirely submerged. It’s ok if some floats above the water.
- Cover with a lid and simmer till soft, stirring from time to time.
- Once cooled a little, gently mash some of the compote with a potato masher, if desired.
- Let cool. Then put in the fridge.
Serve hot or chilled, by itself or with whipped cream or plain yogurt.
I encourage you to experiment with different variations of this delectable beverage!
Here’s to you!