Nothing says Labor Day and end of summer like a big bowl of fresh fruit salad. Fruit salad is a tasty treat for families and can be made ahead of time. It keeps for a couple of days in the fridge, and it can sit out at a picnic, out of the sun. Fresh fruit salad is a delicious addition to any holiday BBQ and is a great way to keep guests happy when the grill is taking longer than usual to heat up. On a warm day, few adults and even fewer children will turn down the opportunity to savor refreshing and juicy fruits cut into bite-sized pieces. Check out these tips to make yours the best.
Select fruit two days in advance. Pick fruit that is near its peak ripeness. Avoid fruits which are already sliced and diced, including large melons which are cut in half. Inspect fruit for bruises and overly soft spots. Look at the bottom of berry containers for mold or moisture before purchasing. Dump the berries into a bag to get a better look at the berries on the bottom of the container.
Refrigerate fruit which is already ripe, including strawberries, blueberries and watermelons, which tend to be sold when they are ripe. Leave cantaloupes on the counter if they are not completely ripe yet, as they will ripen when left outside the refrigerator.
Wash and dry all fruit with cool water immediately before you prepare the fruit salad. Do not wash the fruit and then store it back in the refrigerator in its original container on the day you bought it, unless you buy it the same day you plan to use it. Remember to wash the outside of cantaloupes before you slice into them. For berries and grapes, wash them in a colander.
Cut up the largest fruits first. Slice the watermelon in half or into quarters. Make melon balls with a melon baller. If you do not have a melon baller, use a small ice cream scoop or a deep metal spoon. If you cannot make balls, slice the watermelon into bite-sized cubes. Keep the fruit that was closest to the rind on the bottom of the bowl, since this is the least ripe part of the watermelon.
Slice the cantaloupe in half and scoop out the seeds with a large spoon. Remove only the seeds, and not the moist cantaloupe fruit directly under the seeds, which is full of flavor. Use a melon ball to scoop out the fruit, or dice it up with knife. Add the cantaloupe to the bowl.
Remove stems from the washed-and-dried blueberries and grapes before adding them to the fruit salad. Add them last, and as close to serving time as possible. After a day or more, the open part of the grape where the stem was will turn brown.
Mix the lemon and honey in a small bowl. The lemon will keep the fruit from browning too quickly. The honey will add sweetness, and is optional. Toss the salad with a large spoon, mixing the lemon and honey mix. Cover and store or serve immediately.
- Do not add grapefruit unless you want the entire fruit salad to taste like the grapefruit.
- Do not cut fruit on a cutting board used to cut raw meat.