Leftover Fruits & Fruit Products

Leftover fruits & fruit products can be an issue when you don’t have a plan, and sometimes you may just overbuy. Here are a few saves and some inspiration that will help you use those leftover fruits.

Bear with me, please as I update and finish this page! It’s been on my blog forever and I always meant to complete it as I went along.

leftover fruits

Sure, there are a zillion ways to use fruit but don’t we all sometimes just look at that basket on the table thinking, jheez, I should really do something with that, and before we know it, it’s too late. That’s when we need some inspiration!

Anytime you have enough fruit for a recipe, it’s pretty much a no-brainer. But what do you do with one or two or even a bit of leftover larger fruit?


Over Night Muesli or Oatmeal

most fruits

Let’s talk about some ideas that work with just about any fruit you may have on hand.

1. add to pancakes:

Who doesn’t love fruit in or on pancakes for breakfast? I love these Swedish Pancakes with a bit of blueberry in the compote.

2. add to cereals, hot or cold or overnight oats:

One of my very favorite ways to use a bit of this or that is to make up a batch of my Overnight Oats or Muesli!

3. muffins:

You’ll find a lot of suggestions on adding fruit to muffins in my post on the Best Muffins Ever.  If you have a mix of different fruit, flavor several muffins with each fruit or mix the fruit together.

4. quick bread:

I can’t think of a fruit that wouldn’t be great in a quick bread. Treat just like muffins.

5. add to yogurt:

Just toss fruit in with your morning or lunch yogurt.

6. smoothies:

It doesn’t take much to flavor a smoothie or two with just about any fruit you’d like.

7.  ice-cream or other desserts:

Don’t forget dessert! Make a quick sauce by heating the fruit up
(fortify with a bit of jam if you’d like) or just macerate the fruit with sugar. For non-cooks, that just means sprinkle the fruit with sugar and let it sit until it gets juicy.

8. fresh jam:

Cook up with a little sugar, refrigerate and voila – the freshest jam you’ve ever had. About a tablespoon of sugar per fruit and a bit of lemon so it doesn’t brown will do.

9. compote:

Cook up with a little sugar, refrigerate and voila – the freshest jam you’ve ever had. About a tablespoon of sugar per fruit and a bit of lemon so it doesn’t brown will do.

10. quick topping:

Saute in a little butter and add brown sugar and serve with pancakes, waffles, french toast, ice-cream or yogurt or as a side dish.

11. saute:

Many fruits can be halved, brushed with butter, sprinkled with a touch of sugar and grilled or broiled. Top with sour cream.

12. ice-cubes:

Add berries to ice cube trays, fill with water or fruit juice and use as ice cubes in water or punch.

13. fruit salad:

Don’t forget fruit salad. I sometimes just space out how easy they are to throw together. Just combine what you have.

14. freeze:

To keep fruit from browning while freezing or storing, mix with a bit of citrus juice or citrus powder (crush a vitamin c tablet if you have nothing on hand.)

15. salads:

All kinds of fruits can be tossed in salads, and especially good are apples, pears, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and cranberries. Well, then there are mangos and… you get the idea!

16. fruit salsa:

Again, just a quick way to turn a few leftover fruits or berries into a quick accompaniment to a meal. Make it hot for Mexican or Southwestern or add a little vinegar to go with chicken or pork.

Fruits by Type

Classifying Fruits is a complicated business, but since many fruits in the same classification can be treated in the same ways, I’m going to try to group them together. I’m only including items we tend to think of as fruit, so no nuts, olives, tomatoes, etc.


A pome has many seeds with fleshy tissue surrounding the pericarp that is sweet and juicy. Examples include Apples, Pears, Loquat, Medlars & Quince. I don’t have experience with the last three, but apples & pears are pretty much interchangeable, and even those that are a little lackluster will work with most of these ideas.

1. make apple or pear crisps:

If you have one or two fruits, you might not be able to bake a whole pan, but how about these individual Dulce de Leche Apple Crisps? They’re fun & you can keep any extra streusel in the freezer.

2. bake:

Any Pome is a good candidate for baking or roasting, and there are a myriad of ways to accomplish that. Simple baked apples can be cored & filled with brown sugar and nuts or oatmeal or filled with red hot candies. Pears are better peeled and roasted in a syrup or sauce.

3. make sauce:

Peel, cut and put in a saucepan or if you have enough, a slow cooker, and slowly cook down into apple or pear sauce.

4. apple or pear butter:

Take that sauce down until it’s rich and thick and make apple or pear butter.

5. apple or pear fritters:

Just have an apple or a pear or two? Make fritters.

6. pair with pork:

Peel, slice and saute either apples or pears to serve with pork.

7. pair with chicken:

Do the same with chicken.

8. dry them:

Dry pears or apples for quick snacks or to use in recipes.


  • Make applesauce cake, quick bread or muffins.  Most recipes just need a cup.
  • Serve for breakfast, top a pancake or waffle, serve with potato cakes or latkes.


  • If your bananas are too brown to eat, put in freezer whole or remove the skins and mash with a little lemon juice and freeze in a small container.  Use in banana bread, cake or muffins.
  • One lone banana that no one seems to want to eat?  Heat in a little brown sugar and butter – flambe if you want and serve over crepes, pancakes or ice cream.

Citrus Fruit

  • Throw in the freezer and zest later if in danger of going bad, and you don’t have time to deal with it.  The juice won’t be good, but you’ll have preserved the most flavorful part.
  • Zest put in small Ziploc and freeze.
  • Zest and dry the zest at room temperature, and place in small jar and use it in marinades or dressings.
  • I zest a lot of citrus before I squeeze.
  • If your family isn’t eating oranges, throw them in a salad.
  • Add lemon/lime to many marinades, bbq sauce, or anything that could use a little extra zip.
  • Squeeze into water.


  • Freeze whole cranberries and add to muffins or quickbread.
  • Add a few to smoothies.

Cranberry Sauce

  • Use like any other jelly or jam.
  • Mix with BBQ sauce (or ketchup), a bit of dry mustard and a bit of sugar to make a quick sauce for meatballs or meatloaf.  You can do this to taste – the cranberry and BBQ should be in about equal amounts.  Think sweet/sour.
  • Combine cranberry sauce with a little cream cheese and use as a sandwich spread for turkey.
  • Layer in a coffee cake or cornbread, muffins or quick bread – put some of the batter in the bottom, dollop cranberry sauce in different places, add batter to top, use a knife to swirl, bake as normal.
  • Add whole sauce to apple or pear crisps.
  • Use whole or jellied in place of jelly and jam.
  • Blend, strain and add to fruit juices.
  • Use Melissa d’Arabian’s recipe for Cranberry Orange Spritzer or Cranberry Parfaits
  • Use it to make Thumbprint Cookies.
  • Use it to make Balsamic Cranberry Chicken
  • Three cocktails that use Leftover Cranberry Sauce.

Leftover Fruit Salad

  • Sangria
  • Smoothies
  • Sorbet
  • fruit sauce

Liquid from Canned Fruits

  • You can use the liquid from canned fruit in fruit salad dressings.
  • Add to marinades.
  • Use in glazes for meatloaf or hams
  • Add a tablespoon or two to powdered sugar frosting.
  • Put in ice-cube trays and add to your smoothies.
  • Mix with vinegar and oil in when making homemade salad dressings.

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