looking for the peanut butter cleaning the fridge and find a giant carton of raspberries. Jackpot! Only they’ve started to lose their luster. Sad. You were so excited to buy them last week (or was it the week before?), but you forgot about them once you got home. Don’t toss ’em just yet! Overripe fruit may not be the prettiest topping to yogurt, but it tastes pretty incredible in baked goods and smoothies. And by using less-than-perfect produce, you’re not only cutting down on food waste, you’re also making the most of every penny you spend. These 19 recipes make good use of every brown banana, bruised peach, and mushy strawberry in your kitchen.
1. Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
So you bought a bunch of strawberries and rhubarb with every intention of making a pie, but then laziness kicked in. (It happens.) Instead of tossing the fruit, make a simpler dessert. A crumble topping of oats, coconut, and honey is way easier than pie crust. Word to the wise: A scoop of ice cream on top never hurt anyone.
2. Honey Roasted Strawberries
These roasted strawberries are so soft and sweet it won’t matter that your berries are less than perfect. Spoon this saucy mixture into smoothies or over your morning bowl of yogurt—you could even use it as a dessert topping for pudding, brownies, and ice cream.
3. Chocolate Strawberry Oat Muffins
A gluten-free muffin that celebrates mushy strawberries? Count us in. Not only do these cocoa muffins taste like chocolate cupcakes, but they’ll fill your kitchen with the same mouthwatering aroma as your local bakeshop. Take a big whiff.
4. Slow-Cooker Peach Cobbler
Chop as many nearly overripe peaches as you can find in your kitchen and cram them into your slow cooker: You have a cobbler to make. Make simple biscuits from coconut and almond flour, drop them over the peaches, and walk away. Come back in a few hours to find a bubbling peachy treat. Go ahead, just grab a forkful straight from the bowl.
5. Peach and Oat Smoothie
If your peaches are way too bruised for biting, blend them into a smoothie. Because they’re so ripe, they’ll sweeten up the mild oats that add thickness and protein to the fiber-filled shake.
6. Paleo Peach Cobbler Muffins
These muffins are essentially peach cobbler for breakfast, and we’re not complaining. Mix protein-rich almond and coconut flours with cinnamon, honey, and a big cup of ripe peaches for a treat you’ll make over and over and over and over.
7. Peach Pancakes
Put peaches in pancakes; never go back to plain. Puree a ripe peach in the blender, then fold into almond and tapioca flour with eggs and vanilla. Fry a few cakes in a ghee-greased pan, and breakfast is served! Dollop your stack with Greek yogurt for a peaches-and-cream experience. Note: If you’re not keeping Paleo or can’t find ghee, you can grease the pan with coconut oil, cooking spray, or even a bit of butter.
8. Naturally Sweetened Banana Bread
When it comes to this easy bread recipe, the browner the bananas, the better (say that five times fast). A whole-wheat base sweetened with honey or maple syrup is the tastiest way to use up those overripe bananas on the counter.
9. Banana Ice Cream
You’ll need just one ingredient for this wildly healthy treat: ripe bananas. As soon as the fruit starts getting too ripe to eat plain, chop them up and freeze for at least a few hours. Blend the bananas in a food processor (or high-power blender) until the mixture turns pale and creamy. Serve immediately for a soft-serve snack or freeze in a loaf pan and then get scooping.
10. Chocolate Banana Brownies
Not only will these brownies use up your ripe bananas and cure your daily chocolate fix, they’re probably one of the easiest baked goods you can make. Place bananas, coconut flour and sugar, your preferred nut butter, almond milk, and cocoa powder in a blender and let it rip. Pour into a pan and bake—and then you’re just a half hour away from chocolate-induced happiness.
11. Slow Cooker Applesauce
This one-ingredient applesauce will take care of the abundance of apples in your fridge, plus it’ll keep you from buying the sugar-filled store-bought versions. Better yet: It’s made in a slow cooker, so you won’t spend your whole afternoon stirring.
12. Apple and Carrot Muffins
Morning Glory muffins can be packed with sugar and butter, but that’s not the case here. These apple and carrot muffins are sweetened only with fruit, so there’s nothing wrong with slathering one with nut butter for an afternoon snack.
13. Apple Latkes
Sure, potato pancakes are tasty (c’mon, they’re basically hash browns!), but we’re all about trying a fruitier variation. Grated apples make a fritter that’s just as tasty as the classic version and pairs perfectly with Greek yogurt.
14. Blackberry Scones
Crumbly scones are one of the few ways to take advantage of tart yet subtly sweet blackberries—especially plump, super-ripe ones. To make sure the fruit is the star of the treat, this simple, gluten-free batter is only very lightly sweetened.
15. Blueberry Smoothie Bowl
Find a pint of slightly wrinkled blueberries in the back of your fridge? The only place you should toss them is the freezer. Place the berries in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze for at least a few hours. Then blend them up into a creamy smoothie bowl with dates and almond milk, plus any overripe bananas you have hanging around.
16. Raspberry Lemon Cake
The best part of using berries in baking is that even if the fruit is a little past its prime, all that’s left after a trip in the oven is sweetness. This raspberry lemon yogurt cake is no exception. Note: If you’re not a fan of agave, this recipe can also be sweetened with maple syrup or honey.
17. Maple Lemonade
A surefire way to get rid of a plethora of lemons (besides making a hell of a lot of lemon drop shots) is fresh lemonade. Juice as many lemons as you can, then mix the juice with maple syrup and dial down the acidity with water. We also suggest making a giant batch and turning some into lemonade ice cubes.
18. Lemon Poppyseed Muffins
Lemon poppyseed muffins are a bakery classic, but have you tried them sweetened with applesauce and honey yet? P.S. You get bonus points if you make the applesauce yourself.
19. Paleo Lemon Bars
These tart bars are sweetened with just a bit of honey, letting the lemon flavor shine through. While the recipe requires patience (you must let the crust and filling cool completely before slicing in), these Paleo treats seem well worth the wait.