Stories from Healthy Cooking

8 creative things to do with produce that’s *just* past its prime

Tehrene Firman

Tehrene FirmanMarch 31, 2020

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You’re not the one whose weekly routine involves replacing your old bag of baby carrots with a new one. There’s no need to toss fruit and veggies that are just past their prime in the garbage, though. There are plenty of ways you can give old produce new life.

By itself, a bunch of wilted basil doesn’t look very appetizing. But when you blend it up into a creamy pesto, you’re getting a restaurant-worthy meal at home. You can turn other nearly-expired produce into tasty meal options too, whether you want a warm and cozy soup or a sweet post-dinner dessert. Here are the best ways to do just that.

Here are 8 easy ways to use produce that’s just past its prime

1. Blend basil or parsley into a pesto

You can quickly turn a sad-looking bunch of basil, parsley, or even broccoli into a dreamy dish by simply blending it into a healthy pesto. You’ll never know it was just about to go bad as you’re eating it mixed into your favorite pasta.

2. Turn overripe bananas into banana bread

The best way to use overripe bananas is to make banana bread. It’s literally the key ingredient. In fact, the ripper they are, the better your bread tastes because of all that extra sweetness.

3. Give tomatoes a new life in pasta sauce

Who knew having a handful of nearly-bad tomatoes could turn you into an Italian chef? Put them to good use by creating a vitamin-packed pasta sauce for your next spaghetti night. If you have extra, simply freeze it.

4. Turn apples into applesauce

Applesauce is such an underrated snack, and you can easily make your own with any (almost) bad apples you have. All you need to do is peel and chop them, then cook them in a slow cooker for a few hours before blending them into perfection.

5. Create jam with berries

If you couldn’t get to all your berries in time, put them to good use in a jam. It’s actually not as hard as you think. One chef says you only need the fruit, sugar, and lemon juice.

6. Make a hearty soup with veggies

Don’t toss out your veggies just because they look past their prime. Instead, use them to make a soup. There are so many different options you can make depending on which kinds of vegetables you have.

7. Blend produce into a smoothie

Smoothies don’t care what shape your fruit and veggies are in. Once they’re mixed with some nut butter and almond milk, then blended up into a delicious smooth drink, your tastebuds won’t even know the difference from the fresh stuff.

8. Bake your fruit into a pie

If you have fruit that’s about to go bad, now’s the perfect opportunity to make a pie. You’ll have dessert for the next week and will look like a modern-day Betty Crocker to all your Instagram friends.

These are the under-$1 items to always buy in the produce aisle. Then find out what you should and shouldn’t do when washing your produce.

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