12 Ways To Use Up Leftover Juice From Canned Fruits

It's easy to take common pantry staples for granted. The process of preserving food in metal cans was patented in 1810 by Peter Durand in Great Britain and shot to popularity ten years later when the method was then used to supply huge amounts of food to the British Navy (via Britannica). Fruits were one of the most popular foods to can, as the canning process preserved freshness and allowed the wider distribution of all different varieties of fruit across the world. These days, you'd be hard-pressed to find a kitchen in America that doesn't have a tin of peaches, pineapple, or old-fashioned fruit cocktail on the shelves.

Most canned fruits arrive packed in either syrup or juice, and while the fruit itself is easy to enjoy, you might feel guilty about tossing out the full can of juice after the fruit has been used. We've compiled some uses for that sweet juice that accompanies your fruits so that not a single drop goes to waste!

Make yourself a fruity cocktail

If you find yourself with juice leftover from a can of peaches or pineapple, why not incorporate it with some libations and make yourself a fruity cocktail? Many different cocktails benefit from a fruit boost, and you don't have to have fresh fruit on hand to make them.

Whether you want to dress up a simple vodka and soda with a splash of pineapple juice or bring that blini twist to your brunch mimosa with a drop of peach juice, it's very easy to bring a fruity spin to your drink of choice. The next time you open a can of fruit, simply reserve the juice from the can and add it to your cocktail shaker. This can be accomplished whether your fruit is packed in pure juice or syrup, which has a higher added sugar content, and either option will play well in your next fancy fruity tipple.

Pineapple juice can benefit marinades

On top of being delicious in a tropical cocktail, pineapple juice is an amazing tenderizer for meat. Chemically, it's a fantastic addition to your summertime marinades. The enzymes and acidic nature of the pineapple juice help break down the protein of the meat, especially with tougher cuts that would otherwise be too chewy to be enjoyable. Larger, tougher cuts of meat tend to be less expensive, too, so using a powerful tenderizer like pineapple juice can save money and make something extra tasty.

Whipping yourself up a pineapple juice marinade not only makes your meat more tender, but it also adds a sweetness to your marinades that caramelizes on the heat of a grill or in a cast iron pan. Pineapple is also a very versatile flavor that plays just as well with beef as it does with pork and seafood. A simple soy and pineapple juice marinade could be used as easily on steak tips as it could on salmon or shrimp.

Sweeten up your BBQ sauce

When it comes to BBQ sauce, it's always fun to make your blend stand out from the crowd. One of the best flavor weapons in your saucy arsenal is fruit juice because the sweetness of fruit heightens the tangy flavor of BBQ sauce. So if you find yourself with a can's worth of juice after your morning smoothie, you might already have a jump start on that evening's dinner prep.

While pineapple juice is a common choice for most recipes, some sauce aficionados like to explore different juice options. Peach is a unique addition to the smokey and sweet profile of BBQ sauce. Cherry juice and cranberry can also bring a pleasant tartness that plays nicely with the standard honey or molasses sweetener. Just be sure that what your adding is fruit juice and not syrup, the latter of which will heighten the sugar content of the sauce and might cause over-caramelization when you cook your meat.

Add it to your smoothie

Don't be shy about giving your morning smoothie a bit of a flavor bump with your leftover fruit juices. Most smoothie recipes call for fresh or frozen fruit as key components. It's a common myth that canned fruit isn't as nutritious as fresh or even frozen produce. However, if you find yourself between grocery runs and needing your morning smoothie fix, pineapple, peaches, or pears canned in their own juice are just as packed with the essentials as fresh fruit.

The juice is just as good without the fruit itself if the starring attraction (the fruit chunks) already topped your cottage cheese or oatmeal. It can also help to sweeten the more greens-forward smoothies that might be less palatable first thing in the morning. A healthy smoothie is a great way to kickstart your day, and many smoothie recipes benefit from pineapple or other canned juices.

Make ice cubes and never suffer another watered down drink

There truly is nothing worse than having the last quarter of your drink be a watered-down echo of its former self. Ice is a necessity, especially in the summertime, but it's a bummer of an additive when its chilly usefulness degrades into lukewarm blah-ness. Plan ahead and make yourself fruit-infused ice cubes!

By pouring your leftover canned fruit juice into an ice cube tray for later, you can guarantee your future self a chilly drink that's flavorful to the last drop. You can even enhance your juice ice cubes by floating berries or herbs in the juice before you freeze it. How impressed will your guests be when you offer them a drink that is not only extra flavorful but also gorgeous to look at? It's not just cocktails that benefit from these flavor bombs, mango juice ice cubes will sass up your iced tea, and pineapple juice can bring a fun tropical twist to your lemonade!

Elevate your vinaigrette

Bring a little fruity sunshine into your homemade salad dressings by whisking in some leftover fruit juice. Vinaigrette salad dressings are ridiculously easy to make at home (seriously, you'll question ever buying the bottled stuff again once you've started making your own), and because you can control the ingredients that go into the recipes, you can make customized dressings to go with any salad your heart desires.

Making salads into their own stand-out course starts by knowing how to pair the greens and the dressing; peppery greens like arugula should be complimented with a dressing that includes honey and a splash of peach juice. A pineapple-infused vinaigrette would work delightfully on a salad featuring a cottage cheese dollop for boosted protein. You can experiment as you go to make yourself the salad of your dreams and actually find yourself looking forward to packing your lunch in the morning.

Jazz up your morning oats

Adding fruit to your oatmeal seems like an obvious "hack" to add more flavor to your standard breakfast porridge. But by mixing some of your leftover canned fruit juice in while the oats are steeping in their hot water or milk, you'll actually be infusing more flavor into every bite.

It's no secret that oatmeal is an ideal breakfast food because it keeps you filled up and packs a serious nutrient punch. However, it can be easy to find yourself in an oatmeal rut when it comes to making the basic bowl more appealing first thing in the morning. There are plenty of ways to dress up your oatmeal, so don't feel constrained by your standard sliced banana. By adding a bit of juice to the oats, you can layer the flavor profile of your breakfast and really feel fancy before heading out to take on the day.

Mix up a mocktail

Mocktails are having a serious moment in the sun. Whether you're engaging in a dry January (or February, or March) or you just don't want to deal with the following day's hangover, there are lots of reasons you might choose to swap out your boozy drink for something less intoxicating. But just because you're ditching the liquor doesn't mean that you have to settle for plain old water.

Blending your leftover fruit juices with fresh fruit, herbs, and seltzer water will give you a fabulous, fresh-tasting beverage that will look just as eye-catching as anything conjured up at the bar. You'll be keeping yourself nice and hydrated, too, which is always a bonus (and a nice change from the dehydrated headaches that follow a standard night of drinking). Pop a few of your fruit juice ice cubes in there, too, and your drink will hit the spot right to the final drop.

Freeze up a batch of popsicles

When the summer-month heatwaves start becoming unbearable, it's smart to keep your freezer stocked with chilly treats. Homemade popsicles are an easy and delicious solution to beating the heat. Take advantage of the summer fruit harvest to make some fancy frozen pops with the leftover juice from your canned pineapples, peaches, or mangoes.

The juice can be combined with whole fruit slices, berries, almond milk, or coconut milk. You can even spike them up with some liquor to make boozy popsicles for your next poolside BBQ, guaranteed to be a hit. The fruit juice will tango nicely with the berries and keep you cool when the mercury is rising. You don't have to save these goodies for the summer, either. Since canned fruit ensures you always have a wide selection of produce available, you can keep these delicious, juicy treats in your freezer even in the off-season.

Turn it into an ice cream topping

Speaking of fun frozen treats, you can't get a more classic dessert than good old-fashioned ice cream. If you want to add a fruity twist to your regular icy, creamy dessert, a little drizzle of your leftover fruit juice will add a nice, subtle flavor. You don't have to load up on toppings, especially if you just want something light and easy to finish off a meal or to satisfy a midnight sweet-tooth craving.

Fresh fruit is an excellent addition to ice cream, and splashing a bit of juice into the mix will help you build up a layered and complex flavor profile, especially if the fruit juice is different and complementary to the fresh fruit that you're adding on top. Try fresh strawberries with the juice of canned mangos or fresh blueberries and canned pear juice. You'll soon figure out your favorite fruity medley to add to your after-dinner scoops of vanilla.

Make your pound cake pop

Buttery, sweet, the picture of simplicity, classic pound cake is perfect for dessert or even a sweet breakfast. The original recipe calls for the most basic ingredients: butter, sugar, eggs, and flour. It's a blank canvas of a cake that can either be enjoyed as is or dressed up to be a little more fancy depending on your tastes.

One easy option to bump up your pound cake game is to pour your leftover canned fruit juices over the top of the cake and allow it to soak into the crumb of the cake. That will make the cake even more moist and delicious and give it a fruity twist.

You can also mix powdered sugar into the fruit juice to make a very simple glaze to go over the top of the cake. A glaze drizzle instantly makes a cake more visually appealing, and it will again add a very subtle, sweet fruit flavoring to a plain cake.

Add it to your rice while its steaming

Steamed or boiled rice is such a classic and easy side dish to make with your dinner. You can improve the flavor of your rice by adding a splash of fruit juice to the rice maker or the pot while the rice is cooking. The rice will absorb the juice and will give your side dish a delightful and bright fruit note that should compliment your main course.

Pineapple or mango juice will give your rice a tropical flavor and would work nicely with teriyaki chicken or orange beef. You can experiment with different juices to bring different elements of flavor to your dishes. How much you add will depend on your personal taste, but if you do end up adding more than a few tablespoons of juice, be sure to reduce the amount of water you use to avoid soggy rice. Once you start fortifying your rice with juice, you might wonder how you were ever satisfied with plain grains your whole life!