Living on your own without a meal plan means grocery shopping and cooking for yourself. If you're like me and are still new to this, it's likely you've dealt with some questionably old produce. It's pretty hard to predict how much of what you'll need, especially when you're busy and don't know how much time you'll even have to cook. 

Below are several ideas for using old-ish fruits and vegetables that I've tested out myself. Obviously, if any of these foods are rotten or moldy, they get thrown out. But, just because your banana is brown or your avocado is pretty squishy does not mean it's inedible! 


apple, pasture, vegetable, juice, sweet
Teagan Fitzgerald

Apples are amazing because they can last weeks if refrigerated. However, when you buy them in bulk, or your mom sends you 30 she hand-picked (this really happened), it's still likely you won't finish them all before they start looking old. The easiest hack for this popular fruit—applesauce. Here is a great two-ingredient recipe—I swear, it tastes better than any packaged applesauce. 


avocado, guacamole, vegetable
Rebecca Holstein

This may be an obvious one, but I think people are too quick to throw out avocados with a tiny brown spot. Cut around it, add some salt and lime, and make some fresh guacamole. You're going to mash it up anyways—the softness really doesn't matter. Or, be fancy with old produce and try one of these recipes. 


Ellen Gibbs

Freeze 'em. Even if your banana looks like the one on the far right in the picture above, it's still fine to eat. My best proposal for these? Throw them in the freezer for a smoothie or a baked good. Since they're overly ripe, they become very sweet and perfect for these muffins.

#SpoonTip: Peel and slice them before freezing for easier usage. 


strawberry, berry, sweet, pasture
Becky Hughes

I personally love overripe berries because they're usually super sweet and juicy. If they get past the point you'd consider them pleasant to eat alone, mix 'em with your yogurt or ice cream. Or, default to throwing them in a smoothie. 


vegetable, carrot, pasture
Linzie Gienau

I have recently discovered that roasted carrots are delicious. Drizzle some olive oil and shake on salt and pepper and you're ready to go. The temperature and timing will vary with the size and amount of carrots you're roasting. 


pasture, vegetable
Niki Laskaris

Frozen grapes are a perfect refreshing, yet super healthy, treat. If you can catch them before they get too old, throw them in the freezer and save them for another day. Or, use them as ice cubes in your wine as described here


vegetable, lettuce, kale, herb, pasture, parsley
Kristine Mahan

Sometimes when you're at the grocery store, you get ambitious about buying produce, like large amounts of kale. If it turns out you bought way too much and it's becoming old produce, make some kale chips. You'll stop regretting buying that too-massive bunch of leaves once you throw them in the oven to create this surprisingly tasty potato chip substitute. 


peach, pasture, nectarine, apple, sweet
Sarah Strohl

Similar to berries above—however, I'd definitely emphasize the option of cutting these up to top your ice cream with. You'll have no problem finishing slightly mushy peaches once you taste this combination. Older peaches can also be used in a variety of summery desserts

Sweet Potatoes

vegetable, tuber, pasture, potato, sweet potato, carbohydrate, yam
Lily Allen

Sweet potatoes are a staple in my diet because they taste good, they're easy to make, and they're cheap. They also last a very long time—even if you think it's been too long, it's probably still okay to eat. So cut off the spores and peel off any bad parts and use as you please. If you need inspiration, check out my very own favorite dinner recipe


If it isn't rotten or moldy, throw it in a smoothie—works with just about all your old produce.