Let’s start with a few harsh facts. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, if just one-fourth of the food currently wasted or lost globally could be saved, it would be enough to feed 870 million people in the world. Frankly, when so much of the world is hungry, undernourished, underfed and starving – food wastage is a crime in itself. With supermarket shelves loaded with so many different kinds of juicy fruits, we do tend to buy far more than we can consume, and then are equally hasty in binning that soft and squishy fruit.
We are not advocating that you eat spoilt fruit or try to pass them on to a hungry, homeless guy. What we are trying to say is other than buying little and consuming it all, you can use that excess fruit that’s turning overripe in a myriad ways. A lot of these ways are to reuse as food, but some can also be used in DIY beauty recipes – while technically that’s still wasting food, it does save you that costly facial or body wrap at that exotic salon. And money saved is money earned -- or it can simply be turned towards charity.
Simple Tips to Stop Wasting Fruits & Produce
- Grow your own produce: The more vegetables and fruits you grow in your gardens, backyards and terrace gardens – the more food conscious you’ll get.
- Store your produce better: Some fruits love the refrigerator, while some abhor it. Go here to find which needs to be stored where!
- Do not clutter: You’ll often find 3-4 pieces of rotting fruit that got pushed at the back of the refrigerator. This happens because we tend to stuff the refrigerator too full – avoid it.
- Go shopping more often: We tend to avoid grocery shopping like the plague, and so end up overfilling our baskets in return, only to see rotting fruit and produce. Shop a little less, a little more often to avoid wastage.
- Be generous: Donate anything you know you would not be able to use to food farms and banks. You may not have tasted that fruity deliciousness, but you can let someone else do it instead…
Do Not Bin That Mush
So, here are ten ways you can use that mushy fruit, in increasing order of mushiness – from just a little squishy to oh-my-gawd-what-is-that!
- Juice or smoothie them: If the fruit is just a little squishy but still flavorful – use your trusty juicer or blender to turn them into juices, smoothies and fruity mocktails for breakfast and brunches. And in case you are having that Friday night jam at your place, make your own signature cocktails to truly please the crowd.
- Popsicle them: Too much juice? Turn it into yummy popsicles to be enjoyed on a warm weekend afternoon by you and the kids alike!
- Freeze them: If you are truly a frugal liver and have enough freezer space, freeze your fruit – just remember to peel, pit and chop them first for easy use later. While you may not be able to eat this frozen fruit, you can certainly use it in your cakes and dessert recipes at a later date.
- Make jam: If you are about to groan that making jam is such a back-breaking cumbersome process -- stop right there. Try this jam recipe the next time you have overripe strawberries or other fruit.
- Bake some fruits in: So yeah, banana bread is a great treat. But why just bananas? Use peaches, strawberries, plums and nectarines to make jammy muffins, breads and scones. Try this easy recipe.
- Why just bread, try a cobbler: Fruits that are a tad too ripe can also make wonderful additions to basic cobblers, pies and crumbles. Use a basic recipe and add in whichever fruit you seem to have at hand.
- A fruity salad dressing: Squishy fruit that’s still flavorful can be used to make salad dressing – just blend your choice of fruit with some olive oil, balsamic vinegar and your choice of seasonings and herbs.
- Make some sauces: If your fruit is squishy but not too overripe, make syrupy sauces for pancakes. All you have to do is blend them with some sugar or golden syrup for a fruit-flavored treat that can also be poured over deserts. If the fruit is too overripe to be had raw, pit, peel and mash and then cook it with some chicken stock or bullion to make sauces and glazes for meat.
- Too overripe to eat: Fruits won’t just benefit you from the inside; they also make awesome beauty treatments. Rich in AHAs such as glycolic acid, a fruit face or body treatment will basically slough off dead skin cells and make you glow. While you may choose to try complicated beauty masks, all you need to do is peel and pit the fruit and mash it in the blender. Use this fruit puree to give your skin a good massage all over – wash off for clean and glowing skin.
- Unrecognizable fruit? As a last option, now that you cannot donate, recycle or consume the fruit safely, is to turn it into compost. At least the soil gets renewed to produce more produce…
We hope you like these ideas and if you have more of your how on how to use overripe fruit, do write in to us in the comments section below…