Cooktop Cove: What to do with fruit that is about to spoil
We've all done it. You buy fruit with the best of intentions, with grand plans of cheerfully snacking on healthy and natural produce every day. And then it happens: You open your fridge to find moldy and misshapen blobs that were once your fresh fruit. You forgot the fruit, or it spoiled too quickly, and your money was wasted.
To avoid the spoiled fruit cycle, check out these tips for using up all that fruit. Shop the sales and buy in bulk, and then use up the extra inventory with these simple methods. Preserve your fruit and reach your healthy eating goals without breaking the bank.
1. Dry strawberries in the oven
All you need is an oven to make these yummy dried strawberries. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit (93 degrees Celsius). Remove the leaves and slice each berry in half. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the strawberries on the paper so they are not touching, curvy sides down. Slowly bake for two hours, until dry. Remove from oven, turn over to their flat sides and bake for two more hours.
2. Make homemade mango fruit roll-ups
Make healthy mango fruit roll-ups with these instructions: Preheat the oven to 175 degrees F (79 degrees C). Line two jelly roll pans with parchment paper. In a food processor or blender, puree sliced and peeled mango until smooth. Divide the puree evenly between your two pans, and spread to a flat, even thickness of 1/8 inch (3 mm). Bake for three to four hours, until fully dried. The roll-ups should be dry to the touch and pliable. Cut into strips and roll up with wax paper.
3. Freeze peaches for later use
If your peaches are about to go bad, use this freezing technique to save them for later use. Peel and slice your peaches. Put them in a bowl and add lemon juice to help them from turning brown (Queen Bee suggests a ratio of about 10 peaches to one large lemon's worth of juice). Lay the peach slices on cookie sheets lined with wax paper. Place in the freezer until completely frozen, about six to eight hours. Store them in the freezer a plastic zip freezer bag.
4. Make watermelon chips
You'll need a dehydrator for this yummy snack. Dehydrator Review
says dehydrated watermelon chips are "crazy-sweet, with the consistency of taffy." Place thin slices of watermelon—about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick (6 to 13 mm), rind removed—on dehydrating trays. Use a screen to help remove the watermelon chips when done; they'll be sticky. Set your dehydrator at 135 degrees F (57 degrees C). Dry for eight to 16 hours.
5. Freeze lemon juice into ice cubes
When your lemons are extra juicy, but you just don't think you'll use them up before they go bad, try freezing the juice into ice cubes! Make sure to zest the lemons first and add the zest to the juice before freezing. Add some mint if you prefer! This creates extra zesty flavor!
6. Make homemade applesauce
Need to use up your apples? Make this quick and easy applesauce. Bring ¾ cup (180 ml) water to a boil, and then add four apples (peeled, cored and chopped), 1 tablespoon (15 ml) lemon juice, 1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground cinnamon, and ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) vanilla extract. Simmer, covered, for about five to 10 minutes, until tender. Blend the mixture using a fork, hand blender or standard blender, depending on the consistency you prefer. Add the another ¼ cup (60 ml) water if necessary to get a smoother consistency.
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