It’s easy to get overambitious when buying fruit during the summer. Look at those gorgeous berries, those plump peaches, the ruby red strawberries! You need all of them, right now. But sometimes, our eyes are quite literally bigger than our stomachs. There’s good news, though: If you bought too much fruit to eat and now some is on its last leg, you can still bake with it, instead of tossing or composting it. Here are our favorite techniques to do so. 

Strawberries & Cream Scones Photography and food styling by Liz Neily
Strawberries & Cream Scones can be made with frozen strawberries that were stashed away in the freezer.

Freeze, then chop it: Strawberries & Cream Scones

One of the easiest ways to extend the shelf life of fresh fruit is tossing it into the freezer for later — when it comes to strawberries, we trim their leaves, freeze in a single layer on a sheet pan until solid, then transfer to a plastic storage bag. (This method prevents them from freezing together into a solid block.) 

And while frozen fruit can be defrosted and used to bake any time, freezing is actually the first step to one of our favorite tips for baking with berries: Pulsing frozen berries in a food processor is a quick and easy way to finely chop them for baking. (See more in our previous blog post: This quick tip makes chopping berries a breeze.) Once the frozen berries are chopped, stir them into scones, like these colorful Strawberries & Cream Scones.

Rye Blueberry Bars Photography by Rick Holbrook; food styling by Kaitlin Wayne; prop styling by Brooke Deonarine
Turning berries into quick jam, as in these Rye Blueberry Bars, is a handy tactic to add extra flavor.

Turn it into quick jam: Rye Blueberry Bars 

Facing a daunting haul of shriveling blueberries? Turn them into a quick stovetop jam, and then turn that jam into these nutty, buttery Rye Blueberry Bars. Because they’re bolstered by maple syrup, lemon juice, and vanilla, even if your berries are past-peak or more tart than sweet, your jam will still be plenty flavorful. You can also use the quick jam method with raspberries or blackberries, as in our Raspberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake.

Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting Photography and food styling by Liz Neily
Turn your brown bananas into cupcakes.

Mix it: Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

Sure, everyone knows that if you have brown bananas, you turn them into banana bread. But may we suggest an alternative? Cut up those bananas, then stir them into the batter for these extra-flavorful Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting, which take the brown fruit on a fancier route. The resulting cupcakes are so good, they may just make you forget about banana bread altogether.

Roasted Strawberry Cream Cheese Rolls Photography by Mark Weinberg; food styling by Erin McDowell
Roasting strawberries for the filling of these Roasted Strawberry Cream Cheese Rolls concentrates their sweetness.

Roast it: Roasted Strawberry Cream Cheese Rolls 

Roasting fruit concentrates its sweetness and intensifies its flavor, which is particularly helpful if it’s lost that fresh-picked flavor that initially made it enticing. In these Roasted Strawberry Cream Cheese Rolls, strawberries are roasted with sugar at 350°F until they break down and become jammy, then they’re turned into a juicy filling for these sweet cream cheese rolls. You can easily swap any other roasted fruit in here, from peaches to plums to blackberries.

Dark Chocolate Bundt Cake with Red Fruit Glaze Photography by Rick Holbrook; food styling by Kaitlin Wayne
This colorful fruit glaze is gorgeous on chocolate Bundt cake — and plenty of other bakes.

Glaze it: Dark Chocolate Bundt Cake with Red Fruit Glaze 

For a colorful addition to any cakes, bars, or quick breads, blend fresh fruit and stir it into confectioners’ sugar to make a simple pourable glaze. This Dark Chocolate Bundt Cake with Red Fruit Glaze features a bright glaze made with either watermelon or raspberries, and it makes an excellent jumping-off point for other fruity iterations.

Spiced Peach Shortcakes Rick Holbrook
Grill your peaches for even better shortcakes.

Grill it: Spiced Peach Shortcakes

If you’re firing up the grill (maybe you’re making pizza or calzones?), make sure to toss some halved peaches on there too. It’s the ideal way to transform softening, slumping fruit into a fire-kissed, caramelized filling for these Spiced Peach Shortcakes. Like roasting, the grill concentrates the sweetness of over-ripe peaches and adds a welcome hint of char to deepen the flavor. Other stone fruits, like plums or nectarines, can be grilled just as easily.

Berry Mirror Glaze Photography by Rick Holbrook; food styling by Kaitlin Wayne
Use berries for their color in this stunning Berry Mirror Glaze.

Purée it: Berry Mirror Glaze

For a stunning finish to your cakes that’s packed with sweet-tart flavor, whip up a batch of Berry Mirror Glaze. The base for this glaze is berry purée, which can be easily prepared from fresh fruit by following the tips at the bottom of the recipe page. Simply toss any mushy berries into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

For more fruit-forward bakes, see our collection of strawberry recipes to embrace summer baking.

Cover photo by Rick Holbrook; food styling by Kaitlin Wayne; prop styling by Brooke Deonarine.

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Rye Blueberry Bars
Rye Blueberry Bars
4.5 out of 5 stars 46 Reviews
3 hrs 18 mins
16 medium (2”) square bars
Rossi crimping pie crust
The Author

About Rossi Anastopoulo

Rossi Anastopoulo grew up in Charleston, South Carolina, which is how she fell in love with biscuits. She didn’t have any bakers in her household (with the exception of her grandmother’s perfect koulourakia), so she learned at a young age that the best way to satisfy her sweet tooth was to make dess...
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