The Cure(s) For Flavorless Fruit

May  9, 2016

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."

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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • Turn your fruit into a shrub! Or use it to flavor kombucha during the second fermentation.
  • 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.

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

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"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!

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