Health professionals encourage us to eat more fruit and using canned varieties is an economical way to bump up your daily intake. However, where possible, choose canned fruits in juice rather than syrup to prevent adding excess sugar to your diet. 

The advantages of using canned fruit in meals include: they’re a time-savers as they are already prepared; any fruit leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container without loss of nutrients; they are sometimes cheaper than seasonal fresh fruit; your menu is not limited by the seasons; canned fruits are often on special; and they can be stored unopened for long periods in your pantry. 

Canned fruits make delicious desserts. However, they can also be added to mains and snacks. Pineapple has long been a favourite in sweet n’ sour pork or chicken; it’s the mainstay of Hawaiian pizza; and slices are great barbecued or pan-fried to accompany ham steaks or sausages.

For other non-dessert canned fruit delights try: drained blackberries and a melty cheese in a toasted sandwich; apricots, fresh mozzarella and a cos lettuce salad — drizzled with balsamic glaze; pears and blue cheese drizzled with honey and served on ciabatta; mango slices, cooked prawns, salad greens and coriander topped with a chilli dressing.


A meal in one pan. Potatoes could replace the pumpkin. Add chilli according to taste

1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
500g minced beef
1/2 teaspoon each: ground cumin, chilli, dried oregano, thyme 
400g can chopped tomatoes
400g peeled and seeded pumpkin, cubed
1 cup chicken stock
420g can black beans, drained
410g can sliced peaches in juice, drained

Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Sauté the onion until transparent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Deglaze the pan with 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar.

Add the mince stirring and flattening any lumps with a fork. Stir in the spices and herbs. Cook until browned. Add the tomatoes and cook for 3-4 minutes. 

Add the pumpkin, remaining balsamic vinegar and chicken stock. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Add the black beans and peaches and cook for a further 15 minutes. Serves 4-6.


1 onion, diced
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 large stalks celery, diced
1 green capsicum, seeded and diced
1 1/4 cups good tomato pasta sauce
1 cup cubed canned pineapple, drained
good pinch chilli flakes
1kg cooked prawns, shelled

Sauté the onion in the oil in a large pan, until tender. Add the celery, capsicum, pasta sauce, pineapple and chilli flakes. Stir well, then simmer for 3-4 minutes. Add the prawns and heat through. 

Great served on rice or pasta. Serves 4.


Make your own sponge cake or use a bought unfilled sponge. Check out the sponge recipe in my recipe collection.

1 x 21-23 plain sponge cake (2 layers)
Coating: 1 packet raspberry jelly crystals
1 cup each: boiling water, desiccated coconut
Filling: 560g can lychees
1 cup cream
2 tablespoons icing sugar

Trim any dark patches from your sponge, if necessary.

Dissolve the jelly crystals in the boiling water in a flan dish. Cool then chill until almost set. 

Dip the top and sides of each sponge layer into the jelly, coating well. Sprinkle with the coconut. Chill to set.

Drain the lychees well. Reserving the juice. Pat the lychees dry then dice six. 

Whip the cream and icing sugar until thick. Fold in the diced lychees. 

Place one sponge layer on a flat serving plate, jelly side down. Brush the top with a little of the reserved lychee juice. Top with the cream mixture. Cover with the second sponge layer, jelly side up. Garnish with the remaining lychees sprinkled with a little coconut. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 day for the flavours to develop. Serves 6-8.


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