Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Fruit Cocktail Salad

A classic favorite for years, this fruit salad is made with fresh apples, lite fruit cocktail, mandarin oranges, pineapple tidbits, and dressed with the fruit juices blended with instant vanilla or lemon pudding.

Fruit Cocktail Salad

Hey y'all... it's been awhile! Did ya miss me?? Well, in case you were wondering... you see, there was this pesky little hurricane named Isaac that interrupted our lives all of last week. After he barely by-passed the west coast of Florida, he was headed right to the Mississippi Gulf Coast - my backyard!

There were days of prep, checking supplies, filling gas cans for the generator that would keep our freezer and fridge going, bolting down the hurricane shutters, stuffing the garage and storage sheds with all those nice things like chairs, tables and grills that you want to make sure are still around afterward, and all the fun stuff that goes with preparing for a hurricane.

Where we live, so close to the Gulf, we actually have to prepare for two events - one to hunker down if the storm isn't too close, the other to evacuate if it is, taking all those precious important things, like pets, pictures and papers and supplies to last a couple of days - just in case you can't get back.

At first Isaac was predicted to strengthen to a Category 2 by landfall, which means you better prepare for a Category 3, but thank goodness it was only a Category 1. Eventually it went in on the coast of southeast Louisiana, putting the Mississippi coastline on the bad side of the storm. Since it hung around a lot longer than hurricanes typically do, besides the storm surge, Isaac also caused a lot of severe weather, tornado warnings and coastal and river flooding problems for many of us in Mississippi and Louisiana that lasted for days. There were sightings of a tornado that passed not far from our house - just blocks away. We never heard it.

It sure has been exhausting, mentally, physically and emotionally, and clean up has been hotter than hot. My prayers to those of you up north who are now finding yourselves unfortunately dealing with Isaac and all that he has brought along with him.

So.... let's talk about this fruit salad, and what has been a great meal replacement that I've enjoyed multiple times with the heat of this summer - though it's great any time of the year really. Another recipe that dates back to the 70s for me, and as with any fruit salad, has had many variations over the years. One of my favorite things about authoring this website is rekindling old recipes like these, the ones that have been tucked away in my memory for too long.

It's a great way to jazz up canned fruit cocktail, and a lighter take on what many of us know as holiday fruit salad, where the fruit is often tossed in a rich, old-fashioned egg custard sauce for Thanksgiving or Christmas. It's always been one of the favorite foods on the holiday table for me, and I save room for some, no matter how much I have consumed of all of the other traditional goodies our family has to have.

The original I always knew, started with basic fruit cocktail, pineapple tidbits, mandarin oranges and instant vanilla pudding. I always include apples in my version for their contrasting crunch against the softer fruits, but you can mix up whatever seasonal fruit is fresh and available when you make it. The combination of the juices and pudding makes a light, delicious accent to the fruit, that's not heavy or overly sweet.

Some variations substitute peach pie filling in place of the pudding, and some varieties add in things like mini marshmallows and chopped nuts. I really like to add maraschino cherries when I have them, and I enjoy bananas too, though you'll want to wait to add those right before you serve it and fish out the rest before storing any leftover salad because they don't keep well. It's a wonderful potluck recipe too for those cookouts, church suppers and other gatherings anytime of the year, and a favorite around the holidays too.

Fruit Cocktail Salad made with maraschino cherries and sliced, frozen thawed strawberries.
Here's how to make it.

Recipe: Fruit Cocktail Salad

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Inactive time: 2 hours | Yield: About 12 servings

  • 2 cored and chopped apples (about 3 cups)
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans of lite fruit cocktail
  • 1 (20 ounce) can of pineapple tidbits
  • 1 (11 ounce) can of mandarin oranges
  • 1 (10 ounce) jar of maraschino cherries, well drained, optional
  • 1 pound of seedless, red grapes, halved
  • 1 (3.4 ounce) package of instant vanilla or lemon pudding, regular or sugar free
  • 2 medium sized, firm bananas, optional

Put the apples in a large bowl. Squeeze lemon juice over the top and toss. Drain the canned fruits, reserving 2 cups of the juices in a separate small bowl, and adding the canned fruit, cherries and grapes to the apples; toss. Whisk the vanilla pudding into the reserved juices for about 2 minutes, or until fully blended; add to the fruit bowl. Stir gently and refrigerate several hours, or overnight, before serving, to allow flavors to mingle. Just before serving, peel and slice bananas and stir in.

Cook's Notes: Use all lite and/or no sugar added canned fruits to lower sugar further. Dress this salad up with a homemade, custard cream sauce instead, or substitute lemon pudding. Double for a potluck, party or event. Add other fresh fruit that is in season, choosing firm fruit that are not overripe or mushy. I always include apples for their crispness, and they may be peeled or unpeeled depending on type of apple and your preference. Core, peel, chop, quarter or slice larger fruit, so that everything is fairly uniform in size.

Source: http://deepsouthdish.com

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Posted by on September 4, 2012
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