Fruit Salad

1grapefruit per every
6juice or other oranges
1 to 2 times as muchother fruit (see below)
a littleorange juice, if needed

The most distinctive feature of this fruit salad is that the grapefruits and oranges are cut up with a grapefruit knife, rather than being peeled and sectioned, so that the salad does not contain the section membranes. Wash the fruit. Cut a fruit in half and run the grapefruit knife around each section. (Although grapefruit spoons are common, grapefruit knives can be difficult to find these days. Be persistent. I have found them in the West Concord 5 and 10, a couple of upscale kitchen stores, and Building 19.) I find it easiest to cut all sections first and then pop each one out with the knife -- if you remove each section as you cut around it, you are more likely to cut the unsupported membrane when cutting the next section. When you have removed all the sections, squeeze the empty peel to get the remaining juice out. You will get more juice out if you stick the grapefruit knife in the orange half and wiggle it around while you squeeze. You may find juice oranges easier to deal with than navel oranges, since their membranes tend to be thicker. Do try to keep the pits out of the salad.

The grapefruit and orange should make up 1/3 to 1/2 the total volume of the fruit salad. Choose the rest of the fruit to provide good color, texture, and taste, and according to what is available in the current season.

As for texture, I prefer only very juicy fruits, e.g., melon, grapes, peaches, berries, but not apples or bananas. I put raisins in only if they will have several hours to soak, in order to puff up and become juicy. Peel peaches to get the fuzz off; whether you peel plums and nectarines, whose skins are sometimes bitter, is up to you. Don't use too high a proportion of semi-juicy fruits (peaches, nectarines, apricots, cantaloupes). To keep things nice and juicy, the salad should have enough fruit juice to fill the bowl up to around 2/3 of the height of the fruit in the bowl. If you don't get enough juice from the fruit you cut up, add orange juice to make up the difference. Note that this means this fruit salad should be served in bowls and with spoons, rather than on plates and with forks (for outdoor parties, cups with forks will do in a pinch, since you can drink the juice from the cup).

Color balance is important for a nice looking salad. Oranges are orange of course. In addition, you should at least have something red (strawberries, raspberries, watermelon, and/or red grapes), green (green grapes, honeydew, kiwi), pale (white grapefruit, peeled plums), and dark (raisins, blueberries, pitted purple grapes, unpeeled plums). If possible, use multiple distinctive variants of the above (e.g., both pale green grapes and bright green kiwi, both dark purple blueberries and dark brown raisins), and add one or more of the following categories: yellow/orange (peaches, nectarines, mangos, apricots) and peachy pinkish (cantaloupe, cranshaw, pink grapefruit). Grocery stores carry more kinds of fruit all the time. Use your imagination.

As for taste, most of these fruits are quite sweet. Include something a little sourer for some contrast. I use white grapefruit for this purpose, rather than pink, and also because it helps with color balance. But blueberries and unpeeled plums can also be sour, or you can always throw in a little lemon juice. I don't use pineapple because it overwhelms the other flavors. For variety, you should have at least five different kinds of fruit; six to eight is better; be careful about more, lest the citrus fruits be overwhelmed.

Some good combinations:

High summer (everything available)
Oranges (orange), white grapefruit (pale), honeydew (light green), strawberries (red), cantaloupe (peachy orange), blueberries (purple-black), kiwi (bright green), peaches (bright yellow with orange highlights near the pit side), raisins (black-brown), red and/or green seedless grapes (don't need them for color but they taste great and add lots of juice).
Midwinter (limited choice)
Oranges (orange), white grapefruit (pale), cranshaw (peachy pink), kiwi (bright green), red seedless grapes (red), raisins (black-brown).

All fruit should be cut to bite size, or preferably smaller, so that one spoonful can contain several different items. If you use grapes, cut them in half (lengthwise looks nicer and exposes more juice). Cut strawberries into at least two pieces; very large ones into a dozen pieces. Only use blueberries, raspberries, raisins, and such whole. Kiwis should be peeled and sliced thin (quarter inch or so). You can leave them whole, because they look so nice that way, or quarter them, to get them down to bite size.

I use this salad as a salad course, but it works for dessert, too.

I learned this recipe from my mom, who says

Well, the orig only had grapefruit (two colors), orange, apple (two colors of skin) and raisins. I guess I have to ask my Mom (she probably got it from hers, except citrus was rare in Germany). Only immediate comment is that pink g, white g and orange quantities were 1/3 each, grapefruit "sections" being halved again after being "popped" out (to be same size as orange pieces). I thought one grapefruit = one orange but it's quite variable. You must have invented all the other fruits, except that in summer I guess I sometimes made melon salads (green, red and orange = honeydew, waterm. and cantaloupe) but never thought of that as "Fruit Salad".

Come to think of it, Omi would put bananas in, but I never did unless eating immediately because they deteriorate (brown/mushy). However, apples if crunchy to start stay nice a long time. Also don't do raisins often due to soaking problem. However, raisins can be speeded up in microwave if heated covered in water or juice. Drink or discard liquid. This only takes a couple of minutes as opposed to hours.


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Last modified Jan 3, 1997, Sue Felshin