Saturday, March 20, 2021

What to do with lots of canned fruit

Now that I have a pantry that's properly organized and inventoried, I realize I have a lot of fruit canned up. A lot.

Over the years, as I canned up this abundance, in the back of my mind I did so with one objective: how much we enjoy fruit salad. For this I can thank my mother, who tells me as children we kids wouldn't eat our fruit unless she mixed it in a fruit salad. She used one secret ingredient I've always adored.

Last summer when cleaning out and inventorying our freezers, I found I had gallons of frozen raspberries from our bushes. Younger Daughter is the raspberry fiend in our family, and with her off in the Navy, most of the berries went uneaten. But they were beautiful berries and I needed to do something with them. Rather than make them into jam (which I dislike), I opted simply to can them whole in water, with an eye toward one day being part of a fruit salad. That day had come.

So last weekend Older Daughter came up for a visit. As you can imagine, Mr. Darcy was THRILLED to see her.

When I mentioned I was planning on making a fruit salad, Older Daughter eagerly asked if she could bring some home with her. You bet!

So I pulled out all the necessary ingredients from the pantry:

The only thing missing was strawberries. I had a bag of frozen sliced strawberries, the last loot from our old  garden, which I defrosted and added to the mix.

Everyone's notion of the ideal fruit salad is different, but here's what ours consists of: peaches, pears, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, apples. (I canned chopped apple "bits" a few years ago specifically to add to fruit salad.)

I drained the small fruits.

The peaches are drained separately, so I could chop them up.

Of the two quarts of pears I used, one quart is drained and chopped.

The mix so far:

Then -- and this is my mother's secret ingredient -- the other quart of pears is put in the blender with its juice, and puréed.

This creates a "sauce" ...

 ... which is then poured over the rest of the fruit.

Mix it all together, and voilà: A sure-fire way to get the kids to eat their fruit.

And it has a secondary benefit of clearing out some pantry space.


  1. That looked very good. I especially like that you know what went into the fruit salad.

  2. Yummy! Reminds me of my childhood! It was the only way to keep fruit on the ranch, and it was always a treasured treat!

  3. I have never made fruit salad that way, but it looks delicious. Mothers learn how kids will eat!

  4. You could always make fruit leather.

  5. I have not gotten far enough in my canning experience to 'can raspberries - or any fruit - in (just) water'. I didn't even consider it. Do you have an old post I could search for with mor info or a source reciepe?! Thank you!

    1. Not much to it. I literally just filled pint jars with raspberries, poured water over them, and canned them in a water bath for 15 minutes. Seemed to work!

      - Patrice

  6. There's also such a thing as bottled fruit cake. Peg Bracken (who I love) called it "rich witch cake." Google it! Makes a rich, not too sweet cake.

  7. Mom made fruit salad with mandarin oranges, diced bananas, strawberries, chunked pineapple, whatever else was on hand and then mixed all together with a can of cherry pie filling. I remember no leftovers.

  8. I was talking to a friend this weekend who had made fruit salad and saved out the juices to make adult beverages. She was celebrating the life of a loved one who had recently passed away and adored this particular fruity adult drink.

    I'm so glad you got a chance to enjoy Older Daughter this weekend! Precious moments!