Skip to main content

How to Save Leftover and Fallen Fruits During Harvest Season

By now, you may be used to the frequent thud of ripe fruit falling from the trees and hitting the ground. Harvest time is upon us, and that goes for a large part of the fruit spectrum, from apples and pears to peaches and figs.

Depending on where you live, there may be too much fruit to salvage. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take a stab at holding on to at least some of it. You can enjoy it many ways as fresh as well as preserve it for down the road. Trust us, you’ll need a little jolt of late summer in your life when it’s winter and the pandemic is still making everything, well, strange.

Related Videos

Get Pickling

You should know that pickling is not reserved for just cucumbers (and, for what it’s worth, cucumbers aren’t just for pickles). The briny act of preservation works great on an abundance of things, from veggies like carrots and beets to fruits such as stone fruit and blueberries. Shoot, some even pickle watermelon rinds and serve them as an appetizer or alongside a nice grilled piece of pork.


Peaches, plums, cherries, apricots, berries, melon, and more are all great pickled. It’s easy, as the same ratio of four ingredients can be used on just about anything, with tasty results. Use one cup of vinegar, one cup of water, one tablespoon of salt, and .5 cup of sugar as your brining agent. Combine these and bring to a boil on your stove. Pour it atop some diced up fruit in a jar and let it meld in the fridge for a least a full day, although it’ll just get better and more intense the longer you wait.


Making jam is a pretty straightforward task and a great way to extend the life of your favorite seasonal fruits. It’s also pretty forgiving, meaning you can find a new use for less famous fruits like nectarines or dates.

Start by rinsing and cutting up the fruit of your choosing. Cook it on medium to concentrate it, making it thick. Stir often and gradually lower the heat over time. Once you achieve a desirable level of gooeyness, move the mixture into sterilized jars, careful to leave a little room at the top. Some argue to dip the sealed mixtures into boiling water for several minutes to sterilize things and set the consistency of the jam. Here’s a good site for added info.


You don’t need access to a winery to make a crude but enjoyable batch of homemade wine or brandy. Essentially, you just need a large container to ferment the fruit in, a carboy or wooden vessel to age the stuff in, and things like a hose for transporting liquid and a strainer to filter out the solids.

The basic guidelines apply to just about any fruit you might like to ferment, although apple, pear, and berries are probably the most common. You can go the larger scale route in your garage or basement or small-batch style in your kitchen. Crush the fruit with a masher (or your feet if you feel inspired) and remove the seeds. Add some water and sugar and, if you want a more controlled fermentation, pitch a commercial stain of yeast (although it will likely ferment on its own, that can just be a choppier process).

Cover the juice and let it ferment in a warm environment for several weeks. Strain out the solids and put into a carboy or glass vessel for a few additional days, allowing other solids to settle. The same essentially goes for liqueur or brandy, save the addition of a few other ingredients.

Keeping things sterile is important so be mindful of spills that might attract bacteria or bugs.


One of the simplest things you can do is put the nitrogen-rich fallen fruit to work as fertilizer. This is a great way to utilize the mushy rotting fruit you might not otherwise try to salvage. It’s also a fine way to complete the agricultural life cycle, inspiring decaying fruit to help spawn new life in your garden. Remember to compost away from your dwelling some as it can attract bugs and insects, and get ahold of some manure to get things going, either from a pet or your local garden supply store. The San Francisco Gate has a nice how-to post on the subject. 

Get Sauced

Tomato sauce is versatile and all the better when made with farm-fresh fruit. It’s a simple but fairly time-consuming activity, so maybe crack a bottle of Chianti and sip as you think about pasta recipes you’ll be perfecting this autumn and winter. You can dice up the tomatoes and cook them down or use a food processor to puree them. Cook for just 45 minutes or so to maintain a really fresh, zippy flavor or simmer for multiple hours for a deeper, harmonious sauce. Adding things like garlic, balsamic, tarragon, oregano, and fresh basil is always advised. Also, throw in a little starch or tomato paste if you need to thicken things up some.

For additional details and other ideas like how to dry or freeze certain kinds of fruits, check out this helpful guide from the USDA.

Editors' Recommendations

The 7 best CBD-infused drinks we tried in 2023
These tasty CBD-infused drinks will have you feeling calmer in no time
Cans o RisEau cbd drinks.

Cannabidiol, or CBD, has been hot for a while now, making its way into everything from CBD teas to a variety of CBD coffee brands. If you're wondering "what is CBD?" — it's a naturally occurring compound present in cannabis plants. According to the World Health Organization, it's not addictive, has a solid safety profile, and won't get you high. In clinical trials, it's been effective in the treatment of epilepsy and shows promise in treating a number of other conditions.

In addition to CBD-infused water, tea, soda, and seltzer, another growing trend is CBD-infused nonalcoholic spirits and cocktails. The adult beverage market is flooded with CBD products promising to help you relax, sleep, destress, and mellow out, all without the hangover you'd get from booze (CBD is considered a controlled substance and can't be legally added to booze, at least not yet). We've rounded up a few of our favorite CBD-infused drinks below, from CBD cocktails to CBD water, so you can work your relaxation into your daily routine no matter where you are.

Read more
Here’s how to make a margarita, according to top bartenders
The only margarita recipes you'll ever need
margarita tequila cocktail lime strainer

The best margaritas do not grow on trees, nor do they show up in a can (although there are some tasty canned drinks these days). No, the tastiest version of the tequila classic is made fresh, with love and care and some wisdom from a couple of top bartenders.

It's a balancing act, for sure, but when it's dialed-in, the margarita is one of the best and most refreshing cocktails ever devised. The classic mix of agave spirit, lime, salt, and a touch of sweetness is great alone or with any number of dishes, especially within Mexican cuisine (the nation where the drink was born).

Read more
Bubbly? Full-bodied and red? Zesty and white? Your favorite wine types, explained
All the primary types of wine (and everything you need to know about them)
Glasses of different kinds of wine

Trying to understand everything about wine all at once is an impossible endeavor. Wine is a beautifully complicated, ever-changing quiddity, and even the most decorated and prestigious wine experts in the world often find themselves confounded by its constant little surprises.
That isn't to say that, if you care to, you shouldn't become educated on the subject of wine. It's a hobby and a passion that's tremendously fun to pursue, and there's much to learn on the matter.
If you find yourself in the beginning stages of your wine education, just as in everything, you'll want to start with the basics. It's possible that up until now, you haven't put much thought into the several different kinds of wine there are, except for, say, red and white. But while there are obviously exceptions within every hard and fast rule, for the most part, wine can be broken down into roughly nine categories. Here we'll take a minute to break those categories down, explain what they mean, which wines fall into them, and, our favorite - how to drink those wines.

Sparkling wine

Read more