Tuesday's Tip: Making Good Use of Aging Fruit

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
—Galatians 5:22-23

There was a great segment on The Early Show this morning! Erica Hill spoke with Sarah Humphreys, of Real Simple magazine, about out-of-the-box uses for lemons. My favorite use was using a lemon as a party pick disposer. Watch the segment here, New Uses for Lemons, for clever ideas on using lemons for everything from a non-toxic strain remover for cutting boards and laundry to helping keep your brown sugar soft.

Lemons are one of the four fruits that we keep on hand at our house, along with grapes, apples, and bananas.

Grapes, apples and lemons have great “staying power” and keep in the fridge a good, long while! Most of the time I buy apples and lemons by the bag, as they are usually less expensive this way. Generally, we eat most of the bag of fruit before it ruins. However, it seems we never quite eat it all.  
I shared with you the cute and clever Homemade Potpourri Kit I received from a couple of students at Christmas. This gave me a great idea for using those apples and lemons I usually end up tossing or running through the food disposer to help freshen the drain. 

Homemade Kitchen Simmer

When  apples and lemons are on their last leg, I now simmer them with a cinnamon stick and a few cloves on my stovetop and enjoy the nice aroma. I set a timer when I do this, so that I don’t forget to keep an eye on the water level. Even on simmer, the liquid will evaporate over a few hours’ time. When you’re finished simmering this homemade potpourri, run it through your disposer along with a few ice cubes! Your drain will be freshened and your disposer blades sharpened at the same time!
The only problem I have encountered with making this homemade kitchen simmer is that it sure "throws a hankerin’ on ye" for some hot apple pie!

Although bananas have a fairly limited “shelf life”, they are very easily frozen and used for banana bread and other baked goods calling for mashed bananas! Just pop the bananas, peel and all, into a zippered freezer baggie. When ready to use, remove amount needed for recipe from bag, peel and mash! That’s it!
Frozen bananas also work great for smoothies! Plain, old frozen bananas slices make a great snack, especially on a warm summer afternoon! Just peel, slice, and freeze in a single layer on a wax paper-lined cookie sheet. Pop frozen slices into a zippered freezer bag. When ready to enjoy, remove the desired amount of slices from the baggie. For an extra special treat, drizzle frozen banana slices with a bit of chocolate syrup!

Grapes freeze well! As a matter of fact, frozen grapes are one of MC's all-time favorite snacks. When she was small, I bought large bags of grapes solely for the purpose of freezing them for her and her friend, Anna. After a long afternoon of swinging and bike riding, they would plop down of the back steps with that big bag of frozen grapes and eat their fill! What a sweet memory!
You want to freeze grapes while they're still fairly fresh. Many times I end up freezing grapes when I've bought a bunch and realize we're going to be out of town or out of pocket and the grapes are probably going to go uneaten. I also freeze grapes when they're on sale - a great treat at a great price!
To freeze grapes, rinse and allow to air dry. Place them in a single layer on a cookie sheet and freeze. Transfer frozen grapes to a large zippered freezer bag. Or, for "individual servings", place frozen grapes in zippered snack size bags, and then place the small bags into one large zippered freezer bag. Frozen grapes are the perfect grab-n-go snack!
Word of Caution: Don't serve frozen grapes to very small children, as they could pose a choking hazard!


  1. Thanks for the great tips Connie. I especially like the idea of frozen grapes. Perfect for the warmer days ahead!

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