Photograph by PottyProf/Getty Images
1. Nuke ‘em.
The fastest way to use fruits that are about to go bad is to cut them up into a glass bowl, add cinnamon and microwave. "Two bananas and three pears take about five minutes in the microwave—and will taste like the inside of a pie and smell delicious," says dietitian Millie Shedorick. "You can also core and put a whole apple with cinnamon and a splash of water in the microwave for baked apples."
Photograph by merc67/Getty Images
2. Cube it.
Want to make your fruit last and last? "Throw it in a blender or juicer, and freeze in ice cube trays or in small plastic storage bags," says dietitan Roseanne Rust. "These 'fruit cubes' can then be used for cocktails, smoothies, mixed into porridge or to flavour sparkling water." Feel free to blend up fruits individually, or mix several types together for a "fruit punch cube."
Photograph by SusanadelCampoPhoto/Getty Images
3. Tenderise meat.
Extra ripe, green kiwifruit is excellent for tenderising meats and can add a lovely tang to your grilled meats. "Kiwifruit contains a natural enzyme called actinidin that helps break down protein, and can cut your marinade time in half," says dietitian Rebecca Scritchfield. Make your own marinade with two mashed green kiwis, two tablespoons olive oil, one teaspoon apple cider vinegar and a dash of salt and pepper.
Photograph by Agnese Siciliano/Getty Images
4. Make pancakes.
Give your pancakes a burst of fruity flavour by mixing in bananas or berries in place of added sugar. Then go easy on the maple syrup.
Photograph by byheaven/Getty Images
5. Get your chocolate fix.
Don’t waste that avocado—use it to make a chocolate dip instead. Mash and mix it with a (melted) bar of dark chocolate and, voila! You have a sweet and nutritious chocolate spread. "Make it even healthier by drizzling it on top of a grapefruit or dipping fruit segments in it," suggests dietitian Tracy Lockwood. "It's a treat packed with vitamin E and K!"
Photograph by Wanwisa Hernandez / EyeEm / Getty Images
6. Bake bread.
Yes, making banana bread when the yellow peels start to turn brown is practically common knowledge, but did you know you can do the same thing with peaches, mangoes, kiwis and other fruit? "You can even blend the overripe fruits into a compote and use the same trusty banana bread recipes you know and love—but with a new, flavourful twist," says personal trainer and nutritionist Amanda L. Dale.
Photograph by Pinghung Chen / EyeEm / Getty Images
7. Make better-for-you brownies.
Overripe fruit can be a stand-in for oil and eggs in recipes like brownies and muffins. "It will add a bit more sweetness and density," says Dale. "But, it provides the nutrient value and unique taste you'll love."
Photograph by AD077/Getty Images
8. Prep “sun” dried tomatoes.
When your tomatoes start to get wrinkly in the fridge, transfer them to a baking tray and heat on low for about 12 hours to turn them into oil-free "sun-dried" tomatoes. "Store in an airtight container and sprinkle on salads and tuck into sandwiches for up to a month," says Dale.
Photograph by Sujata Jana / EyeEm / Getty Images
9. Mix a marinade.
You may not think of fruit and meat together, but when it's overripe, the syrupy sweetness can actually reduce well into a marinade. "Use it whenever the recipe calls for jam or compote,” suggests dietitian Natalie Rizzo. Grapes, pineapple and kiwi work especially well. For a last-minute marinade, combine two mashed kiwis, two tablespoons olive oil, one teaspoon apple cider vinegar and a dash of salt and pepper.
Photograph by Sarsmis/Getty Images
10. Jazz up a salad.
Leftover cut-up fruit, such as melons, pineapple or berries, can be tossed atop a salad, giving it a burst of colour and flavour. Before that produce goes bad, you'll get the benefits of its fibre in your last-minute lunch.
Photograph by lavagirl03/Getty Images
11. Roast ‘em.
If you have a pear that's gone soft or grapes that are a bit wrinkly, throw them in the oven. "Roasting fruit brings out its natural sweetness and is a great addition to a savoury grain bowl," says Rizzo. "Mix roasted pears with a heartier crunchier veggie like Brussels sprouts and you will have a sweet and savoury dish."
Photograph by Allison Achauer/Getty Images
12. Stir up a cocktail.
Say cheers to those overripe fruits! Dietitian Rebecca Lewis says to puree them and then strain the juice to give your cocktails a punch of flavour. “Citrus peels can be infused into both vinegars and/or alcohol for some sweetness, too,” she says.
Photograph by john shepherd/Getty Images
13. Beat into eggs.
When your bananas become brown and really aromatic, dietitian Danielle Cushing recommends mashing them up and scrambling them into eggs or egg whites for some extra texture and flavour in your omelet.
Photograph by Simone-/Getty Images
14. Make a batch of cookies.
When bananas are on their way out, they actually taste the sweetest—and they become perfect for these Choc chip, banana and oat mini muffins.
Photograph by vgajic/Getty Images
15. Blend a smoothie.
"I use berries that are going bad in smoothies," says Rizzo. "Since the texture of the fruit doesn't matter in a smoothie and ripe fruit is usually very sweet, it's perfect for smoothies.