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Ices/Sorbet:  If you have an ice cream maker, start googling sorbet recipes.  Overripe fruit has a more intense flavor so you are going to end up with some really delicious sorbet.   You can also look for granita recipes, which give you a great frozen dessert using just a food processor.  If you have kids, popsicles are an indispensable part of childhood and so much more healthful when you make your own out of fresh fruit.  You can juice the fruit in its entirety, or leave some chunks in it, depending on your preference.  Don’t have popsicle molds on hand?  Use three ounce cups and stick in popsicle sticks or plastic spoons once they are partially frozen.

Juice:  This one ought to be pretty obvious.  Where there is fruit, there is juice and store bought just can’t hold a candle to freshly squeezed.  Don’t have a juicer?  Pull out your blender and strain out the solids, which can be added to flavor seltzer or water or can be sprinkled on yogurt, ice cream, pancakes or just about anything else.  Best fruits to use?  All of them.


Pies, Cobblers, Crumbles, Cakes and Muffins: Picture-perfect fruit is a waste in most baked items since it all gets chopped up or sliced anyway.  The results are sinfully good and equally appealing as a light summer dessert or a warm winter treat.  Great with apples, pears, peaches, plums, nectarines, apricots, cherries, rhubarb, strawberries and blueberries.

Fruit Leather:  Who among us hasn’t enjoyed peeling dried fruits off a sheet of plastic?  Recipes for making your own fruit leather abound on the Internet and while you can use a dehydrator, baking your fruit leather at a low temperature in your oven works just as well.  Terrific with apricots, peaches, plums, berries, mangos, grapes, cherries, kiwis, apples and pears.

Fruit Soup:  It’s hard to believe that warm weather is just around the corner, but I promise you it is and there is nothing more refreshing on a hot summer day than ice-cold fruit soup.  Cut up your fruit and simmer with water, sugar, vanilla and a cinnamon stick.  Puree it or leave it is as is and then stash it in your freezer and defrost for a great first course for a Shabbos meal when the temperatures start to rise.  A great choice for peaches, plums, nectarines, grapes, berries, apricots and rhubarb.

Cooked Fruit: Cooked fruit, stewed fruit compote – they both sound like something your grandmother might eat, and Bubby was one smart lady.  Serve it hot, serve it cold, but just serve it, because cooked fruit is truly delicious.  I promise you once you taste homemade applesauce, you will never look at store bought the same way again.  A great light Pesach dessert!

Frozen Fruit:  Lots of fruit that is good at room temperature is even better frozen solid.  Try nibbling on chunks of strawberries, whole grapes or banana halves on popsicle sticks.  All are truly delicious!

Jams, Jellies and Preserves:  When I think of homemade jams and jellies I get intimidated by the thought of canning jars, but if you hunt online for easy recipes, making these items doesn’t have to be a complicated affair and can even be done in a relatively short amount of time in your microwave.

In the good news department, no need to worry if you can’t figure out what to do with your fruit or just don’t have the time to deal with it now.  Cut it up, stick it in a ziploc bag and pop it in your freezer.  Today’s squishy fruit is tomorrow’s peach-mango smoothie, a future banana cake or an upcoming strawberry sorbet.  As for your family, no need to tell them that the dessert they are enjoying right now was once overripe fruit that they refused to eat.  Let that be our little secret.

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Sandy Eller is a freelance writer who writes for numerous websites, newspapers, magazines and private clients. She can be contacted at [email protected].