Recycling Fruit Baskets

Charmed by the thoughtfulness of the giver, most people won't admit that they have a dozen fruit baskets stacked on the kitchen table. With smile and a deep sigh, most resign themselves to the fact that the contents of the fruit baskets will disappear soon enough. But as luck would have it, it's been almost a week and the only fruits consumed are the bananas and the apples. For unlucky homemakers who are faced with this problem, there is a solution. Cook the fruits and recycle the baskets.

I emphasized cooking because by now, every person in your house had probably consumed his share of fruit salad. It's not just fair to ask them to eat another bowl. Most likely, the fruits left in the fruit baskets are the tropical fruits which are popular but difficult to prepare (pity those fruits don't look good canned). Pineapples, watermelon, and pears are the usual remnants of the salad mania. Fortunately, these new takes on fruit are all very easy and simple to prepare.

In the tropics, they have a fancy way of cutting pineapples where the locals cut around the "eyes" of the pineapples, making fancy-looking groves around the fruit. However, since it is time-consuming, peeling the fruit by slicing away the hard skin is acceptable. Slice the fruit in chunks and boil them in simple syrup with a bit of crushed ginger and orange juice. Stew the fruit until the syrup has evaporated completely or thickened slightly. This is good as it is but better when served cold as ice cream topping. If you received a seafood platter with your fruit baskets, this is also a good base for a tropical take on shrimps.

Watermelons are mostly made of water and are good sources of fluids. But its grainy texture is not appealing because it leaves a sandy feel in the mouth. A simple trick to make these fruit baskets survivors into a delicious treat is to make it into a smoothie. Pray to God that you got a watermelon with no seeds. Scoop the pulp into a blender and add crushed ice, sugar, and milk. Adding in some berries and a scoop of ice cream seals the deal. Pears seem lowly compared to red apples but believe it or not, top chefs consider pears as fruits for special occasions. They are worthy substitutes for apples in pies or tarts, giving the desserts new character. For variety, try poaching the pears in simple syrup with some lemon zest or orange rinds. These are good served as it is or paired with a generous serving of vanilla-flavored ice cream.

Try these simple tricks to sweeten these remnants from the fruit baskets. But if you can't bear to eat another bite of fruit, prepare these sweet treats and put them in pretty jars. Put the jars in fruit baskets and send them to friends with thank you notes.

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