Blend Overripe Fruit For A Delicious, Tangy Salad Dressing

This time of year, it is easy to get a bit overzealous at the farmers market. All of the peak season produce is so alluring, and it is easy to buy more than you will be able to consume in a week. Before you know it, those perfectly ripe peaches, berries, or apples are past their prime and have become an unappealing mushy mess.

Don't worry; your investment hasn't gone to waste. The moment fruit becomes too ripe for snacking, it transforms into the ideal ingredient for something else — salad dressing. In fact, overripe fruit can take a simple salad dressing recipe to whole new heights.

A typical vinaigrette is an emulsion of an acid, such as vinegar, with a fat, such as olive oil. The sweet flavor from overripe fruit adds balance to these tart and rich elements to create the perfect homemade salad dressing. Once you give it a try, it will be hard to buy salad dressing from store shelves ever again. 

Benefits of overripe fruit

Fruit that may be past its prime for eating is perfect for blending into a homemade salad dressing. This is because as fruit ripens, two things start to happen — it becomes sweeter and softer. The fruit flavor is more pronounced and begins to taste sweeter because the starch in the fruit is broken down into simple sugars. It also becomes softer as the plant cell walls start to break down over time. Nothing beats a juicy, ripe peach — but when it crosses over into too-ripe territory, it becomes mushy, unpleasant.

However, when the fruit is this sweet and soft, it is the ideal flavor and texture to add to a blender or food processor along with oil and vinegar to create a vinaigrette. Many salad dressing recipes rely on a bit of honey or maple syrup to add a sweet element to the dressing, but here your choice of overripe fruit takes that place. With just a few quick pulses, the ingredients will combine to become a unique homemade vinaigrette. 

Best fruit for salad dressing

A wide variety of fruit can be used to make salad dressing. Berries such as raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, or strawberries all work well and can be added to the blender whole. Stone fruit such as peaches or plums should be peeled before transforming into salad dressing. Even ripe pome fruit such as apples or pears work well when peeled and added to a recipe. In fact, even tart citrus fruit will taste great in a vinaigrette because citrus can impart both a sweet fruit flavor as well as an acidic component.

The best part is: There is no limit to the amount of creativity and innovation you can discover in your own kitchen. Berries along with balsamic vinegar taste great when drizzled over a spinach salad. Peaches blended with champagne vinegar and fresh herbs are ideal for a summer garden salad featuring burrata. Pears and white wine vinegar elevate a fall salad with crumbed feta and toasted nuts to a whole new level. The possibilities are as endless as the fruit on your counter.