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Iron Chef Stephanie Izard’s Revolutionary Solution to Reduce Fruit Waste

Iron Chef Stephanie Izard reveals how to reduce food waste with overripe fruit

Food waste is a significant problem in the United States, with the average family of four throwing away approximately $1,500 worth of food each year (Rubicon). This waste contributes to the staggering 30 to 40 percent of the nation’s food supply that goes directly into the waste stream, amounting to approximately $160 billion worth of food (Rubicon). Commonly wasted items include fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as raw meats and seafood that are prone to spoilage.
But celebrity “Iron Chef” Stephanie Izard, owner of Girl & the Goat restaurants in Chicago and Los Angeles, offers a valuable solution for combating food waste and making the most of near-peeled produce. Izard suggests turning overripe stone fruits like peaches, nectarines, and apricots into delicious jams instead of throwing them away.

The impact of food waste

Before diving into Izard’s creative approach, it’s important to understand the magnitude of the food waste problem. Food waste not only wastes valuable resources, but also contributes to environmental problems. When food ends up in landfills, it decomposes and releases methane gas, a potent greenhouse gas that contributes significantly to climate change (EPA). By reducing food waste, we can make a positive impact on both our wallets and our planet.

Why overripe drupes make excellent jams

According to Izard, overripe stone fruits are ideal for making jams because of their soft texture and enhanced sweetness. The blemishes and mushy spots that often accompany overripe fruit are of little consequence when cooked into jam. The long cooking time and generous amount of sugar effectively mask any imperfections, resulting in a flavorful and satisfying spread.

Adding the perfect balance

While overripe stone fruits bring a natural sweetness to the jam-making process, Izard recommends adding a touch of acidity to balance the flavors. Overripe fruit tends to lose acidity as it ripens, so adding a little champagne vinegar will help restore the desired balance and add a refreshing element to the jam. This simple addition will ensure that your jams are not overly sweet and remain enjoyable to eat.

Maintain quality and reduce waste

By following Izard’s advice and turning overripe stone fruits into jams, you not only reduce food waste, but also preserve the quality of these fruits. Instead of throwing them away, you give them a new purpose and extend their life in a delicious and versatile form. Jams can be used in a variety of culinary applications, from spreading on toast to incorporating into desserts, giving you endless ways to enjoy the flavors of summer all year round.

How to make stone fruit jam

Making stone fruit jam is a simple process that allows you to be creative in the kitchen. Here’s a basic recipe to get you started:


– Overripe drupes (peaches, nectarines, apricots)
– Granulated sugar
– Champagne vinegar


1. Wash and core the stone fruit, removing any bruised or damaged areas.
2. Chop the fruit into small pieces and place in a large saucepan.
3. Add sugar to the pot, using about one cup of sugar for each pound of fruit.
4. Squeeze a lemon or add a small amount of champagne vinegar to add acidity to the mixture.
5. Stir the ingredients together and let stand for about 15 minutes to allow the fruit to release its juices.
6. Place the saucepan on the stove over medium heat and bring the mixture to a gentle boil.
7. Reduce the heat to low and cook the jam, stirring occasionally, until it thickens and reaches the desired consistency. This process can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the amount of fruit and desired thickness.
8. Once the jam has thickened, remove from the heat and allow to cool.
9. Pour the jam into clean, sterilized jars and seal tightly.
10. Store the jars in the refrigerator for immediate use or process in a water bath canner for long-term storage.

Embrace creativity and reduce waste

Iron Chef Stephanie Izard’s innovative approach to using overripe stone fruits in jams offers a practical solution to reducing food waste in our kitchens. By following her advice and incorporating these fruits into culinary applications such as preserves or vinegars, we can minimize waste and make a positive impact on both our plates and the environment. So, the next time you find yourself with a surplus of almost-past-their-prime fruits, remember that they hold the potential for a delicious and sustainable culinary adventure.


Reducing food waste is important for several reasons. It helps conserve valuable resources, saves money and contributes to environmental sustainability. By minimizing waste, we can make a positive impact on both our wallets and our planet.

Why should I consider using overripe stone fruit to make jam?

Overripe stone fruits are excellent for making jams because their soft texture and enhanced sweetness are perfect for creating flavorful spreads. Even fruit with blemishes or mushy spots can be turned into delicious jams, reducing waste and giving these fruits a new purpose.

How does adding acidity help balance the flavors of stone fruit jams?

Adding acid, such as champagne vinegar, helps to balance the flavors in stone fruit jams. Overripe fruit tends to lose acidity as it ripens, so adding a touch of acid counteracts the excessive sweetness and adds a refreshing element to the jam.

What are the benefits of making homemade jams from overripe fruit?

Making homemade jams from overripe fruit allows you to reduce food waste by giving these fruits a new purpose. In addition, homemade jams allow you to customize flavors, control the amount of sugar used, and enjoy the taste of summer fruits all year long.

How can I use stone fruit jams in my culinary creations?

Stone fruit jams have many uses in the kitchen. They can be spread on toast, used as a topping for pancakes or waffles, incorporated into pastries and desserts, or even used as a glaze for meats. The possibilities are endless, allowing you to explore and experiment with different flavor combinations.

Can I store homemade stone fruit jams for long term use?

Yes, you can store homemade stone fruit jams for long-term use. Once the jam has cooled, transfer it to clean, sterilized jars and seal them tightly. Store the jars in the refrigerator for immediate use or process them in a water bath canner for long-term storage. Properly stored jams can last for several months, so you can enjoy them even when stone fruits are out of season.

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