October 04, 2011

Using ripe fruit

Last week I found myself wondering what to do with two over ripe bananas and some pears that were waiting around to be used or eaten.  Fruit, especially, bananas seem to ripen very fast here in Dubai.  So what do you do with ripe fruit?  Don’t throw them away, here are six ways to use them up and an easy Banana and Pear muffin recipe that you can enjoy for breakfast, as a snack or pack in the kids’ lunch box.

  • Make a healthy smoothie – see my blueberry smoothie recipe.
  • Make home-made jam – good fruits to use are berries, apricots and citrus fruits.
  • Juice it – if you have a juicer at home, use fruit such as apples and berries or add carrots to the mix to make your own fresh juice combination. 
  • Squeeze citrus fruit and freeze the juice in ice cube trays.  When you are ready to use them simply defrost them in the fridge overnight.
  • Use in breads, cakes or muffins – ripe fruit, especially bananas, add natural sweetness to baked food so you can reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe.
  • Pamper yourself - use mashed up ripe fruit such as bananas, avocados and papaya to make a nourishing facial mask.  Combine with a little oats and you have an exfoliating mask.

What’s your favourite way of using up ripe fruit?

Banana and Pear muffins
Makes 12 reduced sugar muffins

1 3/4 cup organic plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 free-range eggs
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup raw sugar
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup / 2 large ripe bananas, mashed
2 small pears, peeled and chopped
Pumpkin seeds and flaxseeds for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.  Grease a 12 hole muffin tray or line with muffin cases.  In a large bowl, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon and whisk to combine. 
In a separate bowl, beat the eggs until light and fluffy.  Add the oil, vanilla, sugar, honey and banana beating after each addition.  Add the flour mixture a little at a time and beat until everything is combined.  Do not over mix.  Stir in the pears at the end. 
Divide the mixture into the prepared muffin tray.  Sprinkle over some pumpkin seeds and flaxseeds (or any other seeds) for extra fiber, anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals.  Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Leave to cool in the tray for about 10 minutes before serving.