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Bon voyage banana bread - new ways to use overripe fruit

It’s always a rather sad affair, seeing delicious fresh fruit being overlooked for other snacks and watching it slowly get overripe - those bananas browning, those blueberries softening.

But rather than just chucking them out, there are still plenty of ways you can use them.

It’s amazing how much food is wasted every year - 1.3 billion tonnes globally - when a lot of it could actually be put to perfectly good use.

If you’re anything like us, you’d rather not make any more banana bread with it though… One more loaf and we might turn into one of the things!

But ‘variety is the spice of life’, as they say, so toss your loaf tin aside - we have plenty of other ideas on how to prevent food waste by using overripe fruit.

1. Jam

If you have some very ripe plums lying around, they’re really easy to turn into a scrumptious jam.

Trying to make homemade jam can often sound like a long and daunting process, but it can actually be pretty quick and easy.

Just by adding sugar and a little bit of lemon juice, you’ve got the recipe for a winning preserve that’s perfect on toast, in a sandwich or just enjoyed with a dollop of natural yoghurt.

You can even use both the flesh and the skin here. The stone will have to be taken out, but to avoid creating food waste, it can always be added to the compost heap - although it may take a while to deteriorate - or made into a vinegar, syrup or glaze.

Jam isn’t just limited to plums though - think strawberries, apricots, peaches…. The list goes on. And you can always reuse one of the glass jars you already have in your cupboard, for even less waste.

2. Crumble

Whether it’s with pears or peaches, rhubarb or apples, making up a fruit crumble is a super tasty way to use those overripe fruits.

And there’s nothing quite like the smell of one in the oven to cheer you up on a bad day.

Luckily, crumble is fairly quick and easy to make - it just takes a smattering of other ingredients and some alone time in the oven.

Pair it with a good dollop of ice cream or perhaps some custard, and it’ll be a real hit with the whole family.

3. Drinks

From smoothies to flavoured water there are plenty of delicious ways to stay hydrated while using up those fruits.

It doesn’t matter how overripe they look, as long as they still taste good, they’ll work perfectly in a smoothie.

And even if you don’t fancy one right now, you can still chop the fruit and freeze it in a ziplock bag until you’re ready for one.

When you come to actually whipping up your delicious drink, it’s so simple to just throw the frozen fruit into the blender with some yoghurt and other fruit or veg. And that’s all there is to it.

If you’re not a huge smoothie fan, you could always opt for flavoured water.

As fruit gets older, it usually gets an intense sweetness, so just chop up your orange, pineapple or raspberries and add it to a jug of water for a more exciting way to stay hydrated.

If you leave it in the fridge overnight, it’ll infuse with an even stronger flavour too.

4. Muffins

If you’d rather stick to a cake-based solution for your fruit surplus, try switching loaves for muffins.

They’re different enough to steer you out of that banana bread rut, and because they’re smaller, they’re great for fitting into lunchboxes or offering as an after school treat.

Whether you’re using up nectarines, apples, pears or plums, chop them up, drain any juicy fruits for 10 to 15 minutes, and add around 125g of them for every 125g of flour you need to use in the muffin batter.

Feel free to experiment with spices as well - cinnamon would go great with apple, but we’d recommend trying cardamom with apricot, or vanilla with raspberry.

5. Sauces

Try cooking down your fruit to make a sweet sauce that’ll go with dessert - it’s the perfect partner for homemade cake or ice cream.

Great with strawberries, blackberries, blueberries… most berries really - and cherries, of course. Just throw the fruit in a saucepan with a couple of tablespoons of water and a couple of teaspoons of sugar. Simmer and stir until it reaches a saucy consistency.

And there you have it.

Just make sure you let the sauce cool before you put it in the fridge. Then it’s always ready for those days when nothing but a delicious dessert will do.

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