You probably have good intentions when stocking your shopping cart with fresh fruits, but after you eat one or two apples, they are soon left and forgotten somewhere on the counter top. And before you know it, they’re pretty much spoiled — and let’s face it, nothing says “unappetizing” like spoiled fruits. Don’t feel bad, we’ve all done it before

However, there’s good news: you can use almost any fruit in cooking, even if they’re not fresh anymore! It’s a great way to utilize those fruits that are near the end of their days.

Smoothies

Add chopped pieces of apples, peaches, bananas, or pineapples – basically any fruits – in the blender when making a smoothie. The fact that they get blended removes the unappetizing texture problem usually associated with overripe fruits, but you still get all the vitamins and minerals!

If it can be used to make a smoothie, you can use it to make fruit pops. Blend all the fruits together in a blender with a little bit of yoghurt or coconut milk, add to the popsicle mold, and freeze. It’s the perfect way to use up fruits in the summer – and it’s healthy too!

Desserts

Use stale apples to make your own homemade applesauce.  In a medium saucepan, combine 4 apples (peeled, cored, chopped), ¾ cup water, ¼ cup sugar, and ½ tsp cinnamon. Cover, and cook over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes, or until apples are soft. Allow to cool, then mash with a fork or blender. This sauce can be frozen and used as a substitute for oil or eggs when baking.

Pears, apples, and peaches work great as a winter dessert. Simply sauté some slices in a little bit of butter and sugar, add cinnamon and nutmeg, and serve with a custard or ice cream. You can also add a bit of marmalade and a few orange slices when sautéing – it’s a great way to get rid of all your old fruits in one dish!

Alternatively, grill peaches, pineapples, or mangoes with a simple drizzle of honey, a sprinkle of nuts, and serve with vanilla ice cream.

Cooking

Overripe tomatoes may look pitiful, but they’re packed with flavor. Use them as a base for tomato soup, or make a homemade tomato sauce for pizzas or pastas. Add a few herbs and some seasoning, and you’re good to go!

Chop up a raw pineapple and use it for stir-fries or pizzas. The chopped pieces freeze very well, so if you don’t plan on using them immediately, freeze them in a Ziploc bag for later use.

Many fruits can be used in a roast. They add a sweetness that goes well with the savory taste. Try adding apples, peaches, or grapes to your next Sunday roast!

Jams and Marmalades

Oranges usually stay fresh for a long time, but if you notice that they are about to spoil, then use them to make marmalade! Wash the oranges well and remove any blemished parts. Cut into slices and remove all the seeds. Blend in a food processor, making sure the mixture is smooth with no large chunks. Add sugar (one cup per orange) and pulse to mix through. Place in a glass jar, and microwave (uncovered) for 2 minutes. Give it a stir and microwave for another minute. Repeat the process four times. Let it cool and store in the fridge.

If you have strawberries and stone fruits, use them to make a jam! You see, pretty much any fruit can be used in some way to enhance your existing recipes. And better yet, start learning some new ones!