14 Canned Fruit Hacks You'll Wish You Knew Sooner

halved, peeled peaches in bowl
halved, peeled peaches in bowl - New Africa/Shutterstock

Canned fruit is a staple that is often relegated to the back of the pantry, used only as the occasional topping or extra ingredient. But with a little creativity, canned fruit can be transformed into unexpectedly delicious and delightful treats, from fruit kabobs to pineapple salsa. Canned fruits can also be incorporated into your go-to recipes (like smoothies or barbecue chicken), adding bursts of sweetness and tanginess that elevate these basic dishes.

From sweet to savory, you'll be surprised at the versatility of this humble ingredient. Using canned fruit also eliminates a significant amount of prep work, allowing you more room and freedom to experiment with different flavor combinations, additional ingredients, and more. Some canned fruit hacks may even take you outside of your comfort zone — think sushi with fruit — but the joy of exploration can be very rewarding. Read on to discover the many useful things you can do with canned fruit.

Read more: 12 Vegetables And Fruits That Used To Look Very Different

Turn It Into A Tasty Compote

Homemade fruit compote on stove
Homemade fruit compote on stove - Victoria Kotlyarchuk/Getty Images

Canned fruit takes on a new life when transformed into a warm, comforting compote. This easy dessert is perfect to make with a combination of canned peaches, pears, cherries, and pineapples, but you can definitely get creative and swap the ingredients as preferred.

To make a canned fruit compote, cut your chosen fruits into bite-size pieces and layer them in a baking dish or casserole container. In a separate bowl, mix brown sugar, warming spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, and a hint of brandy (for an optional boozy kick). Pour this mixture over the fruit. Bake the whole thing until bubbly, then serve warm or chilled, as a delicious snack or dessert.

For a special treat, serve the warm compote over ice cream or yogurt for a delightful contrast. Additionally, compote's versatility extends beyond dessert. You can also enjoy it with toast, baked goods, pancakes, waffles, oatmeal, granola, or cereal.

Upgrade Your Salad

Salad with pineapple and chicken
Salad with pineapple and chicken - from my point of view/Shutterstock

The next time you're whipping up a salad, don't be afraid to incorporate some sweetness and flavor with canned fruits. Canned mandarin oranges, for example, can easily complement a variety of vegetables with a pleasantly unexpected sweetness and tanginess. You can also use canned pineapple chunks to brighten up a bowl of lettuce, creating a Hawaiian salad that tastes even better with cheese, mayonnaise, and walnuts. Canned peaches are also great for adding a pleasant twist to a salad. Pro tip: Remember to drain the canned fruits well before adding them to your salad. This will help you avoid a soggy mess.

Canned fruit can be the star of the salad, too. Whip up a fruit salad entirely from canned fruits like pineapple, papaya, and mango. You can also mix the canned fruits with fresh fruits for extra texture and flavor. Finally, toss the fruits together in a bowl with a squeeze of lemon juice to prevent browning. Serve your creation with any topping you like, from yogurt to shredded coconut.

Boost Your Smoothie

Mango smoothie with straw
Mango smoothie with straw - Pada Smith/Getty Images

Canned fruit is convenient to use when making smoothies, as it allows you to skip the steps of peeling and chopping. Canned pineapple, mango, and lychee can add a bright flavor to your smoothie. These types of canned fruits also pack loads of vitamins and minerals that elevate the nutritional value of your smoothies.

To use this hack, simply add your desired canned fruits into your smoothie along with other ingredients. You can even make an all-fruit smoothie, with a combination of canned, frozen, and fresh fruits, based on your preferences and whatever you happen to have on hand. You can even add some of the canning syrup as a sweetener for the smoothie, instead of adding sugar, honey, or other common smoothie sweeteners.

For an even more convenient smoothie routine, simply use canned fruit cocktails. This pre-mixed blend of fruits offers a variety of flavors and textures in a single can, making the process even easier. Simply drain the fruit cocktail, toss in the blender with your choice of yogurt, milk, or juice, and blend with ice for a delicious smoothie in minutes.

Infuse Your Water With Fruity Notes

water with berries and oranges
water with berries and oranges - Gmvozd/Getty Images

Before you reach for a soda or other sugary drink, consider creating refreshing and flavorful fruit-infused water instead. Infusing your water is really simple to begin with, and it's made even simpler by using canned fruits instead of fresh ones. Start by choosing your favorite canned fruit; peaches, pears, oranges, pineapple, and grapefruit are all great options. Make sure you use fruits that are canned in their own juices, to eliminate added sugar and maintain their natural flavors. Add the fruits into a pitcher of water and let it sit in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.

If you're feeling adventurous, try combining different canned fruits to create a unique flavor profile. You can try mixing canned peaches with plums or fresh blueberries. Canned pineapple and mango work great together to create a fresh tropical flavor, especially when enhanced with mint leaves. You can even add rosemary, cinnamon sticks, and other herbs for an extra kick!

Layer It In A Fruit Parfait

Peach fruit parfait in glass
Peach fruit parfait in glass - beton studio/Shutterstock

Fruit parfaits are not only delicious and refreshing, but also visually stunning -- thanks to the colorful layering of fruits. Canned fruits help you to reduce the amount of prep work needed, allowing you to focus on enjoying the dish even more.

Creating a fruit parfait is surprisingly simple. First, choose your canned fruits; peaches, oranges, pineapples, mangoes, or even a pre-mixed fruit cocktail all work beautifully. Drain the fruit well to avoid a soggy parfait. Next, layer your favorite yogurt in the bottom of a clear glass. Greek yogurt or plain vanilla yogurt are classic choices, but feel free to get creative with flavored yogurts or even plant-based alternatives. Top the yogurt with some of the canned fruit to create a vibrant layer. If you're using a small, narrow glass, you can then alternate layers of yogurt and fruit until you create a parfait of your desired height.

For a delightful textural contrast, add a layer of granola on top. Finish it off with a drizzle of honey, a sprinkle of nuts, or any other toppings that tickle your fancy.

Bake It Into A Pie

Cherry pie, plate, and fork
Cherry pie, plate, and fork - Ivan Bajic/Getty Images

Canned fruit is a budget-friendly and convenient staple you can use to create classic fruit pies. First, prepare your chosen canned fruit filling. Classic options include cherries, peaches, or pineapple, but feel free to explore other options, like mixed tropical fruits or berries. In a separate bowl, combine the drained fruit with some sugar to balance the tartness, a sprinkle of spices like cinnamon or nutmeg for warmth, and a bit of cornstarch or another thickening agent, like Clear Jel.

Next, line your pie plate with the bottom crust and pour in the fruit filling. Finally, top the pie with a second crust and seal it. After everything's prepped, pop the whole thing into the oven and bake the pie for up to an hour -- or according to the directions for your pie crust. Once it's done, you can enjoy a warm slice of your hassle-free canned fruit pie. We recommend topping it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Skewer Up Some Fruity Kabobs

Grilled fruit kabobs on table
Grilled fruit kabobs on table - Jenifoto/Getty Images

Colorful fruit skewers are a breeze to make. They also offer plenty of room for exploration and customization. You can combine canned mangoes, peaches, cherries, pineapples, kiwi, and any other fruits you fancy. For a delightful summer treat, try a mix of pineapple and berries, or combine mangoes and kiwis for a more tropical flavor profile. You can even incorporate other ingredients (like cheese or marshmallows) for a delightful mingling of tastes on your kabobs.

To make the fruit skewers, all you have to do is spear your selection of fruit pieces and then grill them until the fruits are caramelized (usually five minutes on each side). For added sweetness, try topping the fruit kabobs with melted chocolate, honey, or powdered sugar. These skewers are crowd-pleasers, so they are great options to serve at picnics or barbecues. But you can also enjoy them as light weeknight desserts.

Whip Up A Delicious Fruit Jam

jam on toast
jam on toast - Debby Lewis-harrison/Getty Images

Whipping up a delicious jam from canned fruit is a great way to use up leftovers and experiment with flavor combinations. Start by preparing your chosen canned fruit; apricots, peaches, and cherries are some popular options. Put them in a saucepan and combine the canned fruits with some of the syrup from the can, as well as a squeeze of lemon juice. Bring the mixture to a boil and then simmer until you get the consistency that you desire. At this point, you can taste the mixture and add more sugar if sweetness is needed. Once it's done, pour the mixture into a clear jar, let it cool, and store it in the fridge for up to three weeks.

The process of making jam from canned fruit is similar to the traditional one that uses fresh fruit, although there are some things to know before you attempt the former method. First, consider using canned fruits with little to no added sugar, as introducing sugar too early in the process can make the fruits mushy. You can also add pectin to make sure your jam thickens properly.

Turn The Juice Into A Fruity Syrup

fruit syrup on ice cream
fruit syrup on ice cream - Nickpo/Getty Images

You can use leftover juices from canned fruit to make a flavored syrup to use in your next kitchen creation. The good news is that you only need canned fruit juice and a bit of sugar to make this simple recipe. To get started, try a two-to-one ratio of juice to sugar -- however, you may adjust this ratio according to your preferences and the natural tartness of the juice. Next, combine the ingredients in a saucepan and bring it to a boil, then simmer it until it thickens. After that, cool the mixture completely before storing in an air-tight container in the fridge.

These fruity syrups are perfect for so many things. They can be incorporated into a variety of sweet treats or used to add a splash of flavor and sweetness to your coffee or tea. You can also drizzle the syrup over pancakes and waffles. Beyond that, the syrups can be a tasty ingredient for your cocktails and mocktails.

Freeze For A Fruity Sorbet

scooping pink sorbet
scooping pink sorbet - Elena Kabenkina/Shutterstock

If you're craving a light but refreshing dessert, try making your own canned fruit sorbet. All you need is canned fruit and a food processor! First, drain and freeze your chosen fruit for at least 12 hours. Once the fruit is frozen solid, put it into a food processor or blender, and mix until the frozen fruit breaks down into a coarse crumble. Taste and adjust the sweetness as desired. You can use added sugar or just utilize the syrup from the can. Continue blending until your sorbet reaches a velvety texture. Pour your finished sorbet into a container then freeze it for a few more hours. Once it hardens, you're done!

You can also elevate your sorbet with additional ingredients, like a splash of vanilla extract, lemon juice, honey, or even alcohol. Just be mindful that adding more ingredients may affect the final texture of your sorbet. Try combining different canned fruits to create a unique flavor profile — you can even mix them with other frozen or fresh fruits that you have on hand.

Chop Up A Refreshing Salsa

fruit salsa in white bowl
fruit salsa in white bowl - Viktoria Hodos/Shutterstock

Canned fruits can take your salsa to a whole new level, creating an unexpected and delicious twist on a classic salsa recipe. Enhance the usual tomatoes and embrace the flavors of canned peaches, mangoes, and pineapples. The sweetness and tanginess of these canned fruits creates a unique flavor profile that complements savory dishes beautifully.

Start by prepping your canned fruit chunks by dicing them into smaller pieces. Then, in a bowl, combine the diced fruit with finely chopped pieces of red onion. If you want a more spicy kick, add jalapeño or chipotle peppers. Don't forget the aromatics — a hint of garlic and a squeeze of lime juice add depth and brightness. Finally, a generous amount of chopped fresh cilantro ties everything together. Serve your canned fruit salsa with chips, crackers, or even as a refreshing topping for chicken wings or fish.

Don't shy away from creating flavor combinations with more than one type of canned fruit. While peach salsa may provide a safe twist on classic salsa, go further with a combination of pineapple and mango for a more tropical flavor, or even use mixed berries to embrace a summery salsa.

Create A Signature Barbecue Sauce

barbecue chicken bowl with rice
barbecue chicken bowl with rice - Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Canned fruits add a unique and delightful tang to grilled meats. Try incorporating the fruits into your barbecue sauce for an unexpectedly delicious flavor that can become everyone's new favorite. Use canned peaches or pineapple for a classic, fail-proof sauce recipe, but don't be afraid to try other fruits as well.

Combine fruit, red bell pepper, garlic, onion, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, brown sugar or honey, paprika, and hot pepper flakes. This combination creates a flavorful foundation for your sauce. Feel free to customize with more peppers or add fresh herbs according to your preference. Simmer the ingredients until the fruits break down and you reach your desired sauce consistency. If you want a smoother sauce, use an electric or immersion blender. Let it cool down and use it to baste your favorite meat, or use it as a dipping sauce for a burst of flavor in every bite.

Roll Up Sweet And Colorful Fruit Sushi

piece of mango sushi
piece of mango sushi - Tibilletti/Shutterstock

If you love aesthetically pleasing, colorful sushi, why not try experimenting with your favorite canned fruit? Fruits can elevate your sushi game, making it more vibrant in look and taste. Start by cooking your rice and preparing your nori or seaweed sheet. Then, lay the nori on a bamboo rolling mat and spread a layer of rice over it, leaving a one-inch border at the top for sealing the roll later.

Next, it's time to get creative and put in all your fillings. Try adding canned peaches with avocado slices for a delightful combination of sweet and savory, or canned mango with crab sticks and deep-fried shrimp for a tropical umami flavor. Arrange your fillings in a neat line then roll up the sushi with the bamboo mat, pressing gently to create a compact and solid roll. To enhance the flavor, drizzle your finished sushi with a touch of teriyaki or soy sauce, before slicing it into bite-sized pieces.

DIY Your Own Popsicles

tray of colorful fruit popsicles
tray of colorful fruit popsicles - Group4 Studio/Getty Images

Forget store-bought popsicles and beat the summer heat with refreshing homemade popsicles. Don't worry, canned fruits make the DIY process even easier, with endless possibilities for creation and experimentation. Start by creating your base — any kind of canned fruit works for this recipe, from peaches to berries. However, for a healthier option, you can prioritize the fruits canned in their own juices with little or no added sugar.

In its most basic version, simply blend your chosen fruit until it reaches a smooth consistency and pour the mixture into popsicle molds. Put it in the freezer overnight, or until completely frozen solid. For a creamier popsicle variation, add condensed milk, yogurt, or other dairy (like milk and whipped cream). The possibilities are endless, so feel free to get creative and combine more than one fruit or add more sweeteners or toppings for more flavors, just like you would when making fruit juice or smoothies.

Read the original article on Daily Meal