A Crash Course on Fruit Salad
As the weather gets warmer, more fruits will start to come into season, and who doesn’t love some refreshing, tasty fruit? Fruit, whether fresh or frozen, comes in handy as part of or the star of many various types of desserts, but today it’s all about the mixing of different fruits in various ways, also known as fruit salad. Fruit salad is a versatile dish that can be used for a dessert, a side with breakfast, or even just a midday snack.
Let’s check out what exactly fruit salad is, how to make a great fruit salad, what other foods you can pair your fruit salad with, and some popular fruit salad recipes, shall we?
What is Fruit Salad?
Fruit salad, sometimes also called fruit cocktail depending on preference, is described as a mix of various kinds of fruit all contained within a sweet cream or sauce.
Fruit salad as we know it today, which is a medley of fresh and canned fruits and a sweetener) comes from around the mid 1800s. All around the world and throughout the United States, you will find different kinds of recipes for fruit salad; for example, Waldorf-style fruit salad consists of apples, grapes, and celery all tossed together in a mayonnaise-based dressing.
How to Make a Great Fruit Salad
There are a few things that you should keep in mind when making a fruit salad, such as how long certain fruits can keep, and this is important when you’re trying to find the right combination of fruits or the right fruits for the right salad.
You don’t typically want to put apples, pears, peaches, or bananas in a fruit salad unless it’s going to be eaten right away; this is because apples, pears, peaches and bananas tend to brown rather quickly. However, there are ways to help keep these delicate fruits from browning so fast, and one of them is coating them with an acidic juice like lemon, orange, or pineapple. You can also use a commercial anti-darkening preparation on these types of fruits before tossing them into your salad. You also don’t want to use a fruit that will easily get smashed while you’re stirring the salad together, so one fruit we don’t recommend over-ripe raspberries.
Make sure that all of your fruit is cut up into similar bite-sized pieces to keep the entire salad uniform and easier to eat.
If you’re going for a simple fruit salad, dressings aren’t necessarily required, but dressings can enhance the delicious fruit flavors, and certain kinds of dressings even take these fruit salads to a whole new level, so it’s important to consider a few things before dressing your fruit salad. Fruit salad made with oranges should be sweetened with orange juice and zest for the absolute best flavor, but if you’re making a salad full of berries, lemon juice and zest are best. Tropical fruit salads, meanwhile, with fruits such as mangoes and pineapples, are best tossed with lime juice and zest. A few other dressings and things that you can toss your fruit into to make a salad include mayonnaise, vanilla pudding, yogurt, Jello, and whipped cream.
Foods to Pair with Fruit Salad
Although it goes without saying that most fruit salads pair well with just about any kind of breakfast, what other kinds of food go well with a fruit salad? Honestly, fruit salads can be paired with just about any kind of food for a sweet, nutritious dessert option, but here are a few specific suggestions for some meals that pair well with most kinds of fruit salad:
- Grilled meats and foods at barbeques
- Pulled Pork Sandwiches
- Mexican food
- Chinese food
Popular Fruit Salad Variations
As with all foods, there are a variety of ways to make fruit salad, so we’ll cover some of the most popular fruit salad variations that we were able to find.
Simple Fruit Salad
This fruit salad variation would be delicious at breakfast and great at a barbeque; it calls for strawberries, raspberries, grapes, apples, bananas, strawberry or vanilla yogurt, and whipped cream. If you want to make this salad in bulk to keep for a day or two, you’ll need to toss the apples and bananas in orange or lemon juice to keep them from browning.
Waldorf Fruit Salad
This fruit salad is one that you have probably seen and possible have eaten before, as it’s quite popular at cookouts and potlucks! It was created in New York by the head chef at the Waldorf hotel in the year 1896 for children at a charity ball to honor St. Mary’s hospital. Waldorf style fruit salad is made with celery, grapes, apples, walnuts, and raisins all tossed in a mayonnaise and sugar dressing. Squeezing a little bit of lemon juice into this, especially after tossing your apples in some beforehand, will not only enhance the flavor, but will also keep your apples from going brown as quickly.
Jello Fruit Salad
When it comes to this variation of fruit salad, it can be simple or more complex. For the more simple recipe, some use strawberry Jello and pour in a can of fruit cocktail, but you can also do this with fresh fruit like apples, bananas, cranberries, and even pineapples. However, a Jello fruit salad can also be made into a “fluff” salad, which would consist of cream cheese or even cottage cheese to make the Jello fluffy.
Ambrosia salad is a classic that many of us had growing up, or at the very least we saw it at family get-togethers. Ambrosia salad consists of mandarin oranges, maraschino cherries, pineapple, mini marshmallows, and is mixed in either a sour cream, cottage cheese, or vanilla pudding base, depending on which recipe you follow.
Oftentimes, you can find fruit cocktail in a can on the shelves of your local grocery store, but you can also make it fresh with just about any kind of fruit you like. Fruit cocktail just means that it’s a medley of fruit all mixed in together, and it can be as simple as just having the fruit together in a bowl, tossing it with some fruit juice, or even drizzling some honey over it.
No matter what your preferences are, there is a fruit salad out there that can suit your needs and tastes, and we hope that our fruit salad ideas have inspired you to make something creative, refreshing, and delicious of your own!