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The Cure(s) For Flavorless Fruit

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In the perfect world, every hour is Saturday at 10 A.M., ​and every plum tastes like the best version of itself. But in reality we suffer through Monday's 8 A.M. hour and we, for whatever reason, often come into flavorless produce—shipped in from across oceans or hoisted onto us by "friends" or, even in high summer, beautiful in appearance but not in taste.

Of a recent acquisition of 10 flavorless fresh apricots, Chocolate Be wrote on the Hotline: "Close your eyes and take a bite, and you wouldn't have a clue they are apricots. So beautiful and so disappointing."

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These aren't the fruits you'll want to eat out of hand, but they still have potential. Here's how to unlock it:

  • Roast them with sugar and vanilla bean seeds to concentrate their sweetness.
Roasted Plums with Vanilla Bean

Roasted Plums with Vanilla Bean by Merrill Stubbs

Roasted Rhubarb and Strawberries

Roasted Rhubarb and Strawberries by Ladystiles

  • Eat the roasted fruit as a topping on ice cream, yogurt, oatmeal, or rice pudding... or blend it into a milkshake or tuck it into a galette.
Roasted Strawberry Milkshake with Buttermilk and Mint

Roasted Strawberry Milkshake with Buttermilk and Mint by Kenzi Wilbur

How to Make a Summer Fruit Galette (And Why You Should)

How to Make a Summer Fruit Galette (And Why You Should) by Marian Bull

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  • Cut the fruit into wedges, stew them in a sweet syrup (amysarah suggests, for flavorless apricots, using apricot nectar), and then eat as is, or purée the mixture and use it as a sauce on cheesecakes and custards or shake it into cocktails! Or cook the wedges down into a compote.
Apples in Cardamom-Lime Syrup

Apples in Cardamom-Lime Syrup by Alice Medrich

How to Make Compote Without a Recipe

How to Make Compote Without a Recipe by Catherine Lamb

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  • Cv suggests peeling and pitting the fruit, then freezing it. When you have some more flavorful specimens to help the losers along, cook the two together.

  • As long as the texture isn't abhorrent, pickle it! Then, chop and add it to salads, or use as a topping for oatmeal or a sandwich filler.

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Pickled Persimmons

Pickled Persimmons by Caroline Lange

Pickled Prunes

Pickled Prunes by hardlikearmour

  • A purée of mild, semi-firm fruit makes a good substitute for applesauce, and applesauce makes a good substitute for oil in simple cakes like banana bread: "Peel and purée, then use in place of part of the oil in a recipe you are baking," suggests Bascula. You can even use the purée in the batter of your upside-down cake, then top it with flavorful fruit you seek out.
How to Make Any Kind of Banana Bread in 6 Steps

How to Make Any Kind of Banana Bread in 6 Steps by Hillary Reeves

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This Cake Will Turn Your World Upside Down

This Cake Will Turn Your World Upside Down by Erin McDowell

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  • Turn your fruit into a shrub! Or use it to flavor kombucha during the second fermentation.
How to Make Shrubs (aka Drinking Vinegars) Without a Recipe

How to Make Shrubs (aka Drinking Vinegars) Without a Recipe by Caroline Lange

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My Adventures in Brewing Kombucha (& How You Can Do It, Too)

My Adventures in Brewing Kombucha (& How You Can Do It, Too) by Sarah Jampel

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  • Blend the fruit (skinless, pitless) with some lemon juice, then add this liquid to a deep amber caramel, whisking until the fruit purée is fully dissolved. Add cream or butter for a richer fruit caramel. Use this sauce to top your ice cream sundaes, or do as Suzanne Goin does and layer it into a rich butter cake.
How to Make Your Caramel 100x More Exciting: Replace Cream with Fruit

How to Make Your Caramel 100x More Exciting: Replace Crea... by Sarah Jampel

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Crème Fraîche Plum Cake with Plum Caramel

Crème Fraîche Plum Cake with Plum Caramel by Sarah Jampel

Berry Butter Cake

Berry Butter Cake by Posie Harwood

Cindy Mushet's Italian Jam Shortbread Tart (Fregolotta)

Cindy Mushet's Italian Jam Shortbread Tart (Fregolotta) by Genius Recipes

And if you're wondering what happened to Chocolate Be's ten bummer apricots?

"This morning we babysat for our three grandchildren and unnoticed by me, the three of them ate all the apricots (which were sitting on the counter awaiting their fate). So problem solved, although I now wish I had had the opportunity to try some of the intriguing solutions offered here. Now I want those tasteless apricots back!"

What do you do with less-than-tasty fruit? Tell us in the comments!