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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Save Schleppy Fruit by Stewing It

Guest blogger Amy Friedman coined the wonderful term "schleppy fruit" to describe fruit that has gone around the bend: mealy apples, fibrous oranges, grainy raisins. Too often people toss these sad specimens, when it is very easy to rehabilitate them by cooking them. Amy's recipe for fruit preserves is a fine example. We also like to make stewed fruit.

We don't really like to call it stewed fruit, as that sounds like something they feed people in nursing homes. On the other hand, it does contain prunes—or "dried plums," as they have been rebranded in recent years—so who are we kidding? The fact is, it tastes great, and it's a wonderful way to use up schleppy fruit.

All you need is some fresh fruit, some dried fruit, some liquid and a little bit of time.

Typically, we have three or four or five mealy apples on hand, as well as a couple of dried-up tangerines or oranges. We usually have at least part of a bag of frozen cranberries. Thanks to Costco, we also have a store of dried fruit that can include prunes, raisins, dried cherries, and/or apricots. We mix and match these depending on what's on hand, but the result is always weirdly the same.

First, cut the apples into bite-size chunks, and toss them into a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Cut up prunes, if you're using them, and add them too, along with a cup or so of cranberries (if you have less than that,  that's fine). Add some dried apricots or raisins if you like. Add a little bit of liquid—orange juice, pomegranate juice, or even water—just enough to keep things from sticking. Then let the mixture cook for about half an hour.

You'll end up with a not terribly attractive fruit mush that will taste delicious, especially under a spoonful of Greek yogurt. And everyone who turns up their nose at your grandma-sounding "stewed fruit" will ask for seconds.

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