My beloved has a passion for fruit, all of them. She was raised predominately in California, so freshness also becomes an issue for her. On every trip to the market, whether or not she is with me or not, there are a number of fruits to cross off.
I on the other hand am not very fond of anything sweet and am frugal to a fault. I was raised in the colder reaches of the Midwest where fruit is a seasonal treat. I glut on cherries when the time is right, but have no compulsion to buy berries in December.
We all know what to do with bananas that are past their prime. But my question here is what should I do with slightly wilted grapes? What should I do with that mango that doesn't quite cut it?
Help me, please, with my countertop of not quite luscious fruit. I'll bake, stew or whatever, but I'm looking to give greater use to our fruit bowl than the compost heap.... though the squirrels are large and bushy.
So what are your favorite recipes for old(ish) fruit?
If you have any of the grapes left, you could try grape pudding. There's a recipe in Hazan's "Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking." Paraphrased:
1 pound grapes (calls for "fresh black grapes," but you could probably use any color though it wouldn't look as pretty; I used Concord)
2 T flour
2 T sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream
Pull grapes off stems and put through a food mill, using the disk with the smallest holes. Put 1 cup of resulting grape puree in a small saucepan. Add the flour, shaking through a strainer, and mix thoroughly until smoothly combined. Add sugar to the remaining pureed grapes, stirring to dissolve completely. Slowly pour this mixture into the saucepan.* Bring to a simmer and cook over low heat for about 5 minutes, until thickened. Cool to room temperature, then spoon into four individual serving bowls, cover with plastic, and chill for at least 4 hours (but not overnight)**. Serve with freshly whipped cream.
*I don't know why you have to add the flour to one lot of puree and the sugar to another and then mix the two lots of puree. I can't think of any reason you couldn't just add the flour to the puree, then the sugar. But I didn't write the recipe and haven't tested other methods.
** Again, I'm not sure about this instruction. When I made it, I had one serving left over and ate it the next day, and it was fine.
I have to admit that I love basically all fruit -- all varieties, and regardless of whether it is overripe, a bit underripe, or just a bit oldish.
That said, if you've got fruit laying around that's past its prime, try cutting it up and making a fruit salad. Dress it with some orange juice, apple cider, olive oil and honey (optional).
Thanks for all of the responses so far.
MMRuth's suggestion about roasting grapes was real nice, though I have to admit that while I loved their concentrated personality, my beloved saw them as half done raisins.
In the future I see using them as a garnish on something more earthy, steel cut oatmeal with a swirl of roasted grapes (I frequently use dried cherries.)
There is something about the tactile experience of plucking roasted grapes, I roasted them as a bunch on the stem...call me lazy. Maybe pairing them with a similarly transformed cheese.... baked Brie with roasted grapes?
Do you have a juicer? I find you can juice fruits once they are past their prime. Grapes are fantastic for juicing. And a mealy apple is just fine in the juicer. The only ones that don't work are really mushy stuff, like pears. Mango I have not tried, so I don't know how ripe it can be, but I would probably blend it and bananas into a juice that I made in the juicer.
What I'll do with mango, is puree the ripend fruit and freeze it to buy a little time. Pureed fruits can be used in many different ways well I am sure you know, but perhaps you hadn't thought you could freeze them. I'm always freezing mangos, they're great in drinks of all kinds, from smoothies to puree for the base of a nice cocktail.
Berries, I do the same ( I love any type or mixed berries pureed then swirled into homemade ice cream). Also, I make jam by adding sugar, lemon juice, sometimes a dash of water, and then by cooking the fruit. Finally, processing in a canning jar. ( I have pint size and bigger) I don't find it any trouble at all. You don't have to process if your going to use the jam or conserve fairly quickly. Once you jar it, you can use the yummy jams for crepes or even to fill cookies or dough desserts. Although I've never used grapes for any of the above, perhaps you could peel them and do then do the same with the grapes?
Mangoes, pineapple, apricots, nectarines, peaches, papaya, bannanas and berries go well in smothies if they are a little past their prime. Apples and berries can be used for cobbler or pie. Past-prime citrus makes decent juice. I would feed the wilted grapes to my bunny, but that might not help you much...