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Wondering what to do with overripe pears, peaches, plums, berries, cherries, and more? This simple, two-ingredient fruit compote makes them beyond delicious in about 10 minutes. It’s great on its own or spooned over yogurt, oatmeal, waffles, pancakes, or ice cream.

simple pear compote in a beautiful bowl (what to do with overripe pears)
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Why we love this recipe

Sooner or later, we are all bound to have some fruit on the counter which, gorgeous and cooperative though it once was, has gotten a little sad due to inattention or innocent overabundance.

Especially when it comes from a farmer you’ve met, maybe even one who saw how you let a few leftover tomatoes rot in the garage last week and was probably even more traumatized by the experience than you were — well, it deserves a better home than the circular filing bin.

That happened to me back in 2008, when I used to help coordinate the Catalpa Ridge Farm CSA. That’s when I first published this simple recipe (adapted from Alice Waters). I still happily rely on this incredibly tasty, super-easy method for using up overripe fruit.

In The Art of Simple Food, Alice Waters describes this borderline remedial technique in the preserving category. It might be better thought of as merely extending, as the results will last for about a week in the fridge.

What you’ll need

Here’s a glance at the two ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe.

pears and sugar
  • I’ve pictured four pounds of overripe pears, weighed before prepping. You can use this method with a wide variety of fruits.
  • For every pound of fruit, I like to use about a tablespoon of sugar. Overripe fruit tends to be quite sweet on its own, so this small amount just coaxes out the natural flavor and adds a bit of gloss to the mix. You can vary the amount of sugar according to your own preferences.

How to make it

Here’s what you’ll do to make this incredibly simple fruit compote. You can see the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get all the details in the recipe card below.

step by step
  1. Prep the fruit by removing cores, stems, and overly bruised spots. Then dice into small pieces.
  2. Place diced fruit into a medium pot.
  3. Add sugar.
  4. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, until fruit has turned nice and soft and released plenty of juice. Let cool to warm and serve alone or spooned over ice cream or yogurt.
simple peach compote in a bowl (what to do with overripe peaches)
Simple compote made from overripe peaches (2008)

Expert tips and FAQs

What other fruits can I use?

This technique works with most fruits. I tend to think of it in the summer months when we’ve got a wild abundance, but you can use it any time of year. In addition to pears, peaches, and plums, it works with apples, figs, apricots, strawberries, cherries, mango, pineapple, and more.

Just cut out any bad spots, and make sure the fruit isn’t so overripe that it’s fermented.

How long does this method preserve for?

I think of this compote more as an extender than a true preserving technique. Once cooled, it will keep well in an airtight container in a nice, cold fridge for about a week.

More favorite fruit recipes & preserves

P.S. Here’s how to cut a peach.

simple pear compote in a beautiful bowl (what to do with overripe pears)

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simple pear compote in a beautiful bowl (what to do with overripe pears)
4.89 from 9 votes

The Simplest Fruit Compote (What to Do with Overripe Pears, Peaches, Plums & More)

By Carolyn Gratzer Cope
This fruit compote recipe is a super-simple way to extend the life of your overabundance of ripe fruit. You can scale this recipe up or down depending on how much fruit you have, and you can sweeten it according to your own taste.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
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Ingredients 

  • 4 pounds 1(815 grams) overripe pears, peaches, plums, berries, or cherries
  • ¼ cup (50 grams) sugar

Instructions 

  • Core or pit and dice the good parts of the fruit (or leave whole if you’re working with berries, halve if cherries, etc.)
  • Place the diced fruit into a medium pot and gently stir together with the sugar.
  • Heat the mixture over medium heat until the fruit has softened and released some of its juices and the sugar has dissolved, about 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Serve by itself, or over yogurt, ice cream, pancakes, waffles, you name it (but for once, probably not a fried egg).

Notes

  1. I’ve pictured four pounds of overripe pears, weighed before prepping. You can use this method with a wide variety of fruits.
  2. For every pound of fruit, I like to use about a tablespoon of sugar. Overripe fruit tends to be quite sweet on its own, so this small amount just coaxes out the natural flavor and adds a bit of gloss to the mix. You can vary the amount of sugar according to your own preferences.
  3. This technique works with most fruits. I tend to think of it in the summer months when we’ve got a wild abundance, but you can use it any time of year. In addition to pears, peaches, and plums, it works with apples, figs, apricots, strawberries, cherries, mango, pineapple, and more.
  4. I think of this compote more as an extender than a true preserving technique. Once cooled, it will keep well in an airtight container in a nice, cold fridge for about a week.
  5. I first published this recipe here, adapted from The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters, back in 2008. I’ve updated the post for clarity, but the recipe remains the same.
Nutritional information for this recipe is calculated for a half cup of compote.

Nutrition

Calories: 61kcal, Carbohydrates: 15.2g, Protein: 1.1g, Fat: 0.3g, Fiber: 1.7g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Fruit Desserts
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @umamigirl or tag #umamigirl!

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Carolyn Gratzer Cope Bio Photo

About Carolyn Gratzer Cope

Hi there, I'm Carolyn Gratzer Cope, founder and publisher of Umami Girl. Join me in savoring life, one recipe at a time. I'm a professional recipe developer with training from the French Culinary Institute (now ICE) and a lifetime of studying, appreciating, and sharing food.

4.89 from 9 votes (9 ratings without comment)

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1 Comment

  1. That would also be yummy over poundcake or bisquits with a little whipped cream. From punktastic to fantastic – sorry, I couldn’t resist…