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What is Fruit Salad?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
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Fruit salad is a dish comprised primarily of fruit and typically served as a dessert, although some may be offered as appetizers. There are a number of different styles, ranging from simple blends of mixed fruit to complex constructions enshrined in gelatin. Some markets and delis carry packaged salads for people to purchase, and this dish can also be made at home with ease.

The star attraction of fruit salad is, of course, fruit. Typically, the fruit is peeled or otherwise prepared and cut into bite-sized pieces to make it easier to eat. Any number of fruits and berries can be used, including apples, bananas, kiwis, pineapples, tangerines, and many others. Some cooks simply present it plain, but others have a theme and use tropical or Mediterranean fruits, for example.

In other instances, a salad may be prepared with a simple acidic dressing that is designed to keep the fruit from browning. Lime juice, for example, may be used on a tropical salad, or saba may be mixed in with a Mediterranean fruits. Vinaigrettes may also be used, or the fruit may simply be dipped in acidulated water to prevent browning. Other fruit salads are made with cream dressings, ranging from tangy dressings with blue cheese or sour cream to sweet dressings with whipped cream or mascarpone cheese.

Salads can get quite complex, with additions like grilled fruit or savory dressings. In the 1950s and 1960s, gelatin salads made with sweet flavored gelatin and fruit inclusions were very popular. Sometimes vegetables may be added, giving the salad a more savory bent, and one may also be paired with greens, nuts, bread, and other savory ingredients. Any number of ingredients can be added to dressings, including yogurt, honey, sesame oil, soy sauce, and so forth, with cooks preparing a dressing that best blends with the ingredients in the salad.

The nutritional value of fruit salad varies widely, depending on the fruits and dressings used. Many fruits are high in fiber and an assortment of vitamins, especially if their peels are left on, as in the case of apples, grapes, kumquats, and other fruits with edible rinds or peels. The dish typically tastes best when fresh fruit is used, although it can be refrigerated for up to a day, and if tossed with an acidic dressing, the risk of bacterial contamination is typically fairly low.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a DelightedCooking researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

By zeak4hands — On Aug 03, 2011

@minthybear19 - My fruit salad is pretty simple too. I learned how to make it from my mom years ago – we have it at every family get together.

I love mixing pineapple, kiwis, strawberries and apples for a great tart tasting fruit salad. I mix them all in a big bowl with plain yogurt and a splash of blueberry juice. It goes great with granola and whipped cream.

Plus, if you have leftovers the next morning -- it's makes a delicious smoothie! Just blend in a banana and a teaspoon of sugar.

By amsden2000 — On Aug 02, 2011

Thanks for sharing your recipes, here's mine! I like my fruit salad to be really colorful, so I make sure to use brightly colored fruits.

I use red apple, cherries and watermelon. For orange, I use mango chunks, orange slices and peaches. I use bananas and pineapple pieces for yellow and lastly -- I use blue berries and black berries for a nice contrasting blue.

I add each ingredient separately, starting with the firmest fruit -- usually pineapple or apples. I stir in each one, thoroughly coating everything in whip cream. Sprinkle the top with a pinch of salt and enjoy.

By Almita — On Aug 02, 2011

@minthybear19 - It sounds like a tasty mess. I usually take the time to carefully layer each fruit into a bowl, adding a layer of whip cream in between. Maybe I'm putting too much effort into it, but I like to make my food a work of art.

I use a cup of each: fresh strawberries, chunks of pineapple, white seedless grapes, sweet honey dew melon, orange slices and whole blue berries. I layer each one in the order listed, spraying a thick layer of whip cream after each layer.

It looks just as good as it tastes.

By minthybear19 — On Aug 01, 2011

My fruit salad is different every time I make it. I don't even follows a recipe.

I pop open a couple of cans of cocktail fruit, pineapple chucks, half pears and then I cut up fresh strawberries. Sometimes I throw in a jar of cherries or add sliced up melon chunks.

I drain the juices and dump everything into a big bowl. Pile in two small tubs of whip cream onto it. Stir it up really well and you're done. Don't forget to chill it. Sometimes I sprinkle white sugar over the top.

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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