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Old(ish) Fruit

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?

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  1. I roasted some grapes to go with seared duck breasts a couple of weeks ago - that might be a good use for some slightly past their prime grapes.

    1 Reply
    1. re: MMRuth

      I'm cooking some cornish hens right now and will give it a whirl. I'll let you know, thanks.

    2. 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...

      1. 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?

        1. Many of the fruits can be frozen and when you get enough you can make a sorbet out of them.

          1 Reply
          1. re: AndrewK512

            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.

          2. 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?

            2 Replies
            1. re: chilihead

              Drying fruit is also a great way to use it up. If you have a few different kinds, you can make fruit leather. This can be done in a dehydrator (Excalibur is the best) or in your oven.

              1. re: chilihead

                Actually, Goin calls for roasting them on the stem - I think just for about 15 minutes though - my beloved didn't like them either! Photo here:

                http://www.chow.com/photos/254420