Few things compare to the deliciously sweet taste of a perfectly ripe pear.
But what happens when they’re past that point of ripeness? You know — when they start to form brown spots and become mushy and unappealing.
Don’t throw away those mushy pieces of fruit! Here are 11 recipes that are perfect if you’re wondering what to do with overripe pears.
1. Freeze for Smoothies
Do you love to make smoothies? Yes? OK, good, because overripe fruit is perfect for freezing and using in smoothies. Cut off any parts of the pear that have gone bad, cut up the rest, seal it in a zip-close bag and put it in the freezer.
2. Pear Jam
If your pears are just slightly overripe, you can cook them into a pear jam. You need a lot of pears for this recipe — about three pounds — but the only other two ingredients are lemon juice and sugar.
Store the finished product in Mason jars, and spread it on toast, add it to desserts or yogurt or even cook it with meat. There are so many ways to use jam it’s not even funny.
3. Pear Crumble
Pear crumble is not only delicious, it’s also easy to make. Besides pears, the rest of the ingredients are staples you probably already have in your pantry or fridge. For this recipe, the mushier the pears, the better.
4. Mash Into a Pancake Topping
Kitchn.com suggests mashing your browning pears and using them as a pancake topping or folding them into your batter. Fruit is always a delicious complement to breakfast foods.
You could also use the mashed pear on top of ice cream. Sundaes, anyone?
5. Blend Them Into a Salad Dressing
Blend them with some olive oil, vinegar and seasoning for a salad dressing that’s a little on the sweet side. Perhaps try out this delicious pear vinaigrette. Hint: The sweetness pairs well with salty toppings.
6. Bake Into Fruit Leather
This is pretty much a homemade Fruit Roll-Up.
Slow-bake your fruit into pear and cinnamon fruit leather. Although it does take a while in the oven (six to seven hours), it’s worth it.
7. Pear Ice Pops
Who doesn’t love ice pops? There’s no baking required for this recipe — these spiced ginger pear frozen pops only require a blender and some ice pop molds. You could also get creative and add in whatever fruits or flavors you want.
Do you like fruit and wine? Make some adult frozen pops with Riesling and overripe pears. These boozy popsicles sound amazing for a party or even just an afternoon treat.
8. Vanilla Spiced Pear Butter
This vanilla spiced pear butter goes perfectly on toast, muffins, oatmeal and ice cream. This recipe uses seven pounds of pears and yields four pints of butter, but you could halve or quarter the recipe.
If you’re feeling ambitious and decide to make the full recipe, you can freeze the rest and have pear butter year-round.
9. Pear Muffins and Bread
If you love to bake, use your overripe pears for pear and cinnamon muffins — this one’s fun to make with kids.
Much like mushy brown bananas make for delicious banana bread, mushy pears are great for pear bread.
10. Pear Bourbon Cocktail
I’m not one for baking, so I’m not sure I could conquer pear muffins and bread, but this cocktail? It looks too delicious to not give it a try.
Using the past-its-prime pear, smash and strain your way to this pear bourbon smash cocktail.
Instead of applesauce, try some homemade pear sauce. All you need besides pears is sugar, water, lemon juice and (optional) cinnamon spice. You could make a large batch and freeze some to use as easy healthy snacks.
Jacquelyn Pica is a former SEO specialist at The Penny Hoarder.