It’s summer! And summer means fruit.
SO MUCH FRUIT. Sometimes too much to actually eat it all before it starts to get icky — which is why fruit salads are such a great idea. You can redeem on-the-edge produce with just a little TLC so that it becomes a whole new magical concoction.
But the term “fruit salad” has long been abused by those who believe that tasteless honeydew + unripe cantaloupe + rock hard grapes = something worth eating. It’s high time to reclaim this territory with interesting, beautiful, luscious, non-boring combinations of fruits.
Here are some ideas to help you keep things fresh:
1. Use a little Greek yogurt in the dressing.
A good dressing — not too sweet, not too heavy — helps bind everything together and bring out the fruit’s juiciness. These berries are chillin’ in a mixture of Greek yogurt, honey, and mint.
2. Or use this great, basic formula: citrus juice + fresh herb + honey or syrup.
You get something acidic, something interesting, and something sweet. The acid in lemon, lime, or orange juice brightens up the flavors and keeps fruit from turning brown. Soft fresh herbs like mint, tarragon, and basil are the best. Get the recipe for this salad here.
3. Stick with one color for something striking.
This orange-on-orange combo of citrus and carrots is so HAPPY. Get the recipe here.
Red fruits rule in summer. This salad’s made with cherries, strawberries, and raspberries.
4. Two-tone is classy, too.
This dramatic number is a mix of honeydew, black currants, and sheep’s milk cheese.
(Even when it looks dressed up for Christmas.)
5. Grill the fruit first.
Yo’ll be amazed at what a little fire can do to make fruit sweeter and softer and more interesting. This recipe uses an eclectic mix of peaches, plums, pears, figs, and grapefruit.
6. Let some vegetables join the party.
Forget the botanical technicalities of what may or may not be a “fruit;” the point is, don’t be afraid to mix in things that aren’t sweet. Cucumber makes a super addition to honeydew and watermelon in this summer salad.
Watermelon gets along with almost everyone. Including radishes.
7. You can take some extra time to compose a salad without going over the top.
Like a lovely enormous edible flower. Get the recipe here.
A grid is awesome if you’re using firm, cube-friendly fruit like melon.
Get the recipe here.
8. Add some grains or seeds for protein and texture.
Quinoa? In a fruit salad? WHY NOT.
9. Try sticking with just one type of fruit — for example, stone fruits.
Exercising some restraint in terms of genre helps bring out subtle, individual flavors of different fruits. Plums, pluots, and nectarines here.
For the record, cherries are allowed in the stone fruit club too.
Tropical fruits (mango, papaya, pineapple, banana) are always happy to hang out together.
And berries are happiest in the company of other berries.
They’re delicate and easily squished by heavier, galumphing fruits like melons. Also possibly just very snooty. Get the recipe for this patriotic salad here.
12. You can also let guests build their own.
Great for a party full of kids, picky eaters, or the artistically inclined.
13. Use cookie cutters to make fun fruit shapes.
Get the recipe for this proudly American salad here.
14. Add edible flowers.
Pansies and nasturtium flowers are especially nice.
15. Add booze!
Fruit is thirsty stuff, and will soak up basically any kind of wine or liqueur you choose to pour over it. This melon and berry salad is made with sweet Muscat wine.
16. Imprison fruit salad in a popsicle.
So it can live forever. Until you eat it. Recipe here.
Just please never, never commit any of these inexcusable offenses against fruit salad:
Don’t overload a dish so it’s impossible to get any fruit out without dumping it all over the place.
Also, what if you just wanted the watermelon at the bottom? GOOD LUCK.