The National Nutrition Month preparation fun continues with another great way to "put your best fork forward."
This time it's all about fruit salad.
No, not the blah kind that you may find in a grocery store display case or sad potluck. Fruit salads can be really plain or really wild depending on which fruits you use and how you arrange them. That's why I'm here with a fresh kitchen hack for you!
Here are some tips and tricks for making healthful and appetizing fruit salads.
It's great to use fruit in season because that's when it has optimal flavor for your money. Plus, following the seasons helps you mix up your fruit salad game as the year progresses -- it could even help build suspense at your table and in your classes!
- In the winter, make fruit salads with many types of citrus, apples, and pears.
- Spring brings bright berries like strawberries to the mix.
- Summer’s bounty includes tree fruit like peaches, apricots, nectarines, and plums, along with more berries, melons, and cherries. The summer is the best time of year for fruits and vegetables!
- Fall offers lots of different grapes, apples, and pears.
The first thing to think about when you're preparing a fruit salad is varying shapes. Consider slicing one fruit very thinly and arranging it on a plate topped with chunks, balls, diced pieces, and even individual small fruits. By varying the way you cut all the fruits, you make a pleasing variety of items in your fruit salad.
Sauce is important because it adds color and sweet and sour flavors to your plate. Try repeating some of the flavors in your fruit salad with its sauce. For example, if you've got raspberries in your fruit salad, consider garnishing it with a raspberry sauce. And if you're ever in a pinch, consider defrosting a little sorbet: it's basically a frozen sauce!
Ice cream and whipped cream add a tiny bit of fat that can add contrast to a cool acidic fruit or a warm baked fruit dish.
Temperature is another contrast you can use on a fruit plate. Perhaps baked apples will go well with chilled apple puree and custard.
Add crunch with dried fruit, toasted cereal, or toasted nuts.
You can also shave fruit very thin and serve with a thin smear of fruit jam.
For a final touch, consider garnishing your salad with a sprinkle of spice, a few finely chopped herbs, or a twist of lemon. These mangoes are steeped in citrus juice and drizzled with honey.
Here are a few chef-tested recipes for fun fruit salads...
- Build Your Own Fruit Buffet
- Cool Six-Fruit Salad
- High Phytochemical Fruit Salad
- Seasonal Fruit Plate
- Winter Fruit Salad
And don't miss these engaging fruit materials!
Plus, there are lots of options for Nutrition Month!
Stephanie Ronco has been editing for Food and Health Communications since 2011. She graduated from Colorado College magna cum laude with distinction in Comparative Literature. She was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2008.