One of the most important things we can do for our health is eating right. Step one does not start with your health care practitioner but with you and what you eat. For some, desserts can be the hardest thing to pass up. So this is my first blog and I thought I would break the ice on a topic near and dear to my heart. Making a good fruit salad.
With BBQ season upon us, I find myself being asked by my family to again make fruit salad. Now it may seem like an easy task (and it is). However, there are a few rules to follow. This insures it that yields no leftovers and has people reaching for the fruit salad instead of a sugary dessert.
1. Most obviously CHOOSE FRESH, RIPE SWEET FRUITS. This means perhaps passing over fruits you love for others. NO bruised or brownish pieces go into the salad. Throw them away. Taste each fruit as you go. If it's nasty or too tart get rid of it. Over buy and bring the unused fruit to work everyday or make a smoothie for breakfest.
2. Choose VARIETY over bulk. I know that huge melon will go a long way but I honestly never use it in my fruit salad unless there are very few ripe fruits. Even one of 5 types of fruit will yield a sh**load of salad. Go for color and texture differences. It will make the salad appealing to the eye. And as you cut, if you find you have more of one fruit over another cut less and save it for another day. BALANCE is an important part of a good fruit salad.
3. USING FRUITS THAT BROWN EASILY like apples or pears can be tricky. Cut them last and make sure they are really fresh. Adding an acidic element like lemon or lime will slow them from browning. If you are making the salad far in advance from serving it, make sure it is well refridgerated or skip apples and pears. Honestly, I NEVER use bananas. Unless you are serving right away, save the bananas for smoothies.
4. This is a big issue for me and perhaps the most important rule! CUT THE GRAPES IN HALF!!! If you take anything away from this blog it's this one. Nothing infuriates me more than chasing a grape around my bowl and watching it hurl itself onto the floor. ***The same rule does not apply to blueberries though! It will turn into a hot mess and if you've chosen ripe, sweet blueberries (see rule #1) they will be easy to catch with a fork.
5. Learn how to SUPREME AN ORANGE. It's really easy and makes your salad look really professional plus there's no pith or pits. Here's a video to teach you how:
6. Add a TART FLAVOR to balance the sweetness of the fruit. I love to add kumquats for this. Kumquats are small round fruits that look like oranges and are the size of grapes. Every part of the kumquat is edible including the small pit. I chop them up and add about half a cup for a large bowl of fruit salad. Lemon or lime zest also works if you can't find kumquats.
7. DRESS THE SALAD. Salad with out dressing sucks, even fruit salad. Personally, I like fresh mint with lemon or lime. You can make a it with an cardomom, cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar. Or Greek yogurt and honey. In Mexico, they serve fresh mango slices with chile pepper sprinkled on it so don't be afraid to add a little hot spice (repeat a little). Vanilla extract is another good addition to the fruit salad, but please none of that "imitation vanilla". Splurge the extra couple of bucks for some real vanilla. If you are using more tropical fruits consider adding coconut extract or coconut flakes. For more the party crowd, consider an alcohol soaked fruit salad. My mom puts Sambuca in her fruit salad but Amaretto or a flavored brandy is great too. What ever you chose, test it out on a small portion of salad before you dress the whole thing.
Good health like everything else doesn't come in a day. It's the small choices we make every minute.