A well made fruit salad is both refreshing and very satisfying, not to mention nutritious. The quality depends completely on the choice and freshness of the ingredients, though some ingredients are likely to come from a can or be frozen instead of being fresh. I learned how to make delicious fruit salads from Marie. Believe me, they bear no resemblance to the garbage sold as "fruit cocktail." I have experimented a lot and I have my own ideas of what to include and when to introduce a given ingredient to the salad for maximum texture, taste and color effects. I know you will get rave reviews if you serve this salad to your guests, either as an appetizer or as a dessert.
I believe ripe fresh fruit is optimal but realistically we can't buy decent quality fresh fruit in our typical supermarkets. Seldom is it truly ripe and sweet and juicy. Thus, you will notice that I recommend canned fruits for some ingredients. If you have ripe fresh fruits where I recommend using canned fruits then by all means use the fresh fruits.
Note that some of the fresh ingredients are not added to the fruit salad until just prior to serving it. That is particularly important for the fresh strawberry pieces and the banana slices, as these fruit pieces will lose their character, appearance and taste if mixed with all the other ingredients prior to chilling the fruit salad.
Ingredients: (This recipe makes a gallon of fruit salad. More if the optional ingredients are added.)
1 quart of fresh ripe strawberries
2 ripe bananas
1, 20 oz. can of sliced peaches or two very ripe large peaches, peeled and pitted
1, large fresh Gala or similar apple
1 cup of fresh or frozen blueberries
1 large fresh orange
1, 15 ounce can of mandarin oranges (optional)
1, 6 ounce package of fresh red raspberries or blackberries
1, 20 ounce can of pineapple tidbits, or, equivalent amount of very ripe fresh pineapple
1 to 2 cups of fresh orange juice
1 cup of sliced seedless white/green grapes
All of the syrup from any canned fruits that you use
1/2 cup of sliced maraschino cherries and/or 1 cup of sliced frozen or fresh dark sweet cherries
1, 20 ounce can of lychees (optional)
Use a 1 1/2 gallon stainless steel or glass bowl and a large wooden spoon to prepare the fruit salad.
Add the canned peach slices plus juice, or, the peeled, pitted and sliced fresh ripe peaches.
Peel, seed and chop the apple into pieces about 1/2" on each side, then add to pieces to the bowl and mix lightly to coat the apple pieces.
Add the cup of fresh or frozen blueberries to the bowl and mix lightly.
Peel the fresh orange, cut it in half and remove all pith. Cut the orange halves into pieces about 1/2" on a side. Add the pieces to the bowl and mix lightly.
Add the can of mandarin oranges and the juice to the bowl and mix lightly.
Add the fresh red raspberries or blackberries to the bowl and mix lightly.
Add the can of pineapple tidbits including the juice, or, 1/2" per side cut pieces of peeled and cored fresh ripe pineapple. Mix lightly.
Add the sliced fresh seedless white/green grape pieces. Mix lightly.
Add the sliced maraschino cherry pieces, and/or the sliced fresh or frozen dark sweet cherry pieces. Mix lightly.
Slice the (optional) lychees into four pieces each and store them with the juice from the can in a one quart Ziploc® freezer bag in the refrigerator.
Cover the fruit salad bowl with plastic wrap and put it into the refrigerator for at least four hours, or overnight.
When you are within an hour of serving the fruit salad then do the final steps outlined below.
Special Note: If you will be serving only part of the prepared one gallon of fruit salad then dispense the approximate amount you plan to serve into a smaller stainless steel or glass bowl. Then adjust the quantities of strawberries and banana slices indicated below to smaller amounts based on the amount of the one gallon fruit salad you intend to serve. Cover the remaining unused fruit salad and return it to the refrigerator for later use.
Hull and wash the fresh strawberries and slice them into four pieces each, or more if they are very large.
Peel the bananas, removing any membrane or discolored areas. Cut them in half lengthwise and then slice the halves into pieces about 1/4" thick.
Add the sliced strawberries and the slices of banana to the chilled fruit salad.
Add the optional lychee pieces along with the juice.
Mix the fruit salad lightly but thoroughly.
If the fruit at the top of the bowl is mostly covered with juice then the salad is ready to serve. Otherwise add the fresh orange juice in small additions, and mix the fruit salad with each addition, but only use just enough orange juice to barely cover the fruit.
Serve the fruit salad in chilled clear glass cocktail or dessert dishes of sizes six to ten ounces.