basket of apples

It’s that time of the year when many fruits are in season and ready for harvest. Your fruit trees and plants may be producing more than you can eat, but that doesn’t mean it needs to go to waste!  We recently visited Dalia and Jason, owners of Flower and Bone, a Sonoma County restaurant that utilizes a zero-waste philosophy. We were so impressed with how they were able to make use of all aspects of their food that we were inspired to look into ways to have a zero-waste fruit harvest.

  • Make vinegar – Making vinegar is so easy, you can do it unintentionally! This is a great way to use up fruit scraps. Anything that contains sugar or starch can be made into a vinegar; while most of us probably think of making it out of apples, for an apple cider vinegar, it can be made with any type of fruit. To learn more about how to make vinegar and to try it yourself, check out this recipe from Tales Of A Kitchen.
  • Hooch- The great thing about hooches is you don’t need perfect fruit to make a tasty beverage! These fermented drinks utilize flesh, skin, cores, and stems- if it’s a part of the fruit, chances are you can use it! Learn how to make it yourself with this guide from Leaf Tv.
  • Salt preservationLemons are the most common fruit used in salt preserving, however many fruits can be preserved this way. Salt-preserved lemons, are a Middle Eastern delicacy and have a hint of umami you wouldn’t experience with a fresh lemon. The method uses the entire fruit, rind and all. Use them as you would a normal lemon, in salad dressings, over chicken or as a drizzle of flavor over your favorite dish. Get a recipe for salt-preserved lemons from The Daring Gourmet.
  • Pickle or ferment – Like veggies, fruits can be pickled and fermented as well! Often times this can make use of parts of the fruit that you wouldn’t usually eat, as in the case of pickled watermelon rind. One thing to keep in mind is that fruit ferments tend to be a bit more active and explosive than veggies due to the sugar content- so it’s always good to have a secondary container that you put your ferment into limit mess. Chutneys are a great way to start off with fruit ferments as they often combine fruit and veggies, like this recipe for a sweet and spicy chutney from Real Food Outlaws.
  • FreezeFreezing is one of the simplest ways to preserve fruit, but there are still some guidelines to follow: don’t just throw the fruit in a freezer bag and freeze it- prepare the fruit as if you were planning to eat it fresh, and then freeze it in a single layer. Cut fruits into bite-size pieces and leave berries whole. Remove as much air as you can to prevent freezer burn. Want more tips on freezing fruit? Here’s a great how-to from the Kitchn!
  • Dehydrate – Dehydrated fruit is another great option for fruit preservation! Use your oven or dehydrator to make chips and fruit leather- tasty treats for both kids and adults! Using a mandolin to thinly and uniformly slice the fruit can make this method easier, faster, and have more consistent results. Certain types of fruits, such as apples, benefit from pre-treating them to prevent discoloration and enhance flavor. Learn more about dehydrating fruit from Kitchen Stewardship!
  • Canning- Whether it’s whole fruit or applesauce, canning is a great way to preserve your fruit! Due to the high acidity content of fruit, it’s safe to can them using the water bath method. If you’ve never canned anything before, be sure to watch this handy tutorial from
  • Candy – Candied citrus is a great way to use the whole fruit or only the rind. Candying preserves much of the flavor of the flesh and enhances the citrus taste of the rind while disguising the bitterness. Use candied fruit as decoration on desserts, or simply as a sweet treat. If stored properly, candied fruit can last for 6 months. Try this great recipe from Simply Sated.
  • Fruit stones- Believe it or not, you can use the stones from apricots, peaches, plums and more for flavoring alcohols and syrups! They can also be used in potpourri, soaps, and other household items. Get more ideas on how to use fruit stones from Food 52.
  • Jams, preserves, and curds – These sweet spreads are similar to each other; the main difference between them is the consistency and the sugar content. Make your own and enjoy your fruit harvest for months to come! Want to know more about the differences between these, or grab a recipe? Check out Kilner’s Guide to Jams!
  • Household cleansers – Citrus peels of any kind can easily be made into a natural, all-purpose cleaner! Get tips for making it from Tori Avey.
  • Gleaning or donation- If you truly have more than you can possibly use, consider contacting a local gleaning group, who will come in and pick your excess fruit. Many of these groups are nonprofit and donate the fruit to those in need. So even if you can’t use it all, someone else can. If you live in Sonoma County, contact Farm to Pantry for more info.
  • Compost- If all else fails, fruit can always go in the compost! Your garden will see the benefits, and there’s something beautiful about this year’s fruit providing nutrients to next year’s harvest. Flesh, cores, skin, pits, and stems all have a place in the compost heap!



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