It may seem as though there’s not much to a fruit salad other than tossing chopped fruit in a bowl, but a few simple tricks transform a flat fruit salad into something enticing to the eye and pleasing to the palate. From picking fruit with the same level of ripeness to spritzing fruit with lemon juice, these 10 tricks will help you make better fruit salads all year round.
Buy Seasonal Fruit
Flavor- and texture-wise, seasonal fruit always tastes better. Ever had mealy, bland blueberries or apples during their off-season? It’s a common and often accidental occurrence, but it’s best to avoid buying produce from halfway around the world during its off-season. Instead, look for seasonal produce that’s local to you — or at least originating from the continent in which you live.
Choose Fruit With the Same Levels of Ripeness
A fruit salad instantly becomes less appetizing when some bites are mushy and other bites are too tart and tough. Avoid the incongruousness by choosing fruit with even stages of ripeness. Texturally, it will taste better if all pieces of fruit are soft and ripe with a slight crunch to each bite. Additionally, overly ripe fruit can disintegrate quickly into a pulpy mush that coats all the other fruit pieces. By mixing together ripe but not mushy fruits, salads look fresh and vibrant for a longer period of time.
Mix Fruits of Different Colors and Textures
Toss fruit with striking hues like green, orange, red, and purple to highlight and contrast each fruit present in the salad. In addition to varied colors, think about combining different textures, too. Some fruits are seedy; others are crispy. Some are filled with juicy pockets; others have a fibrous skin. Mix it up to keep your palate interested and engaged.
Remove Stems, Pits, and Skins
With fruit like cherries or strawberries, remove all stems, pits, and skins, if necessary, from the fruit before tossing it in the bowl. A fruit salad looks cleaner when every piece of fruit is prepped. If you cannot remove the pits or seeds, then warn your guests of any items that have something hard inside that is not visible. There’s nothing worse than unknowingly biting into a grape that’s full of bitter, tooth-breaking seeds.
Cut Uniform Dices or Slices
One of the first tricks learned in culinary school is to cut uniform pieces. Not only is it visually attractive, but it also makes eating the fruit salad easier. Whatever the size of the dice or slice, choose one measurement and stick to it when prepping all the fruit.
Use Equal Parts of Each Fruit
Nobody likes a spoonful of filler fruit! An attractive fruit salad is filled with equal parts of each fruit, so no one feels as though they’re left with the unwanted, bottom dregs of the bowl.
Season With Citrus
Amplify the flavor of fruit salads with the use of fresh citrus zest and juice from lemons or limes. The citrus juices prevent fruit from turning brown and act as the “salt” to fruit, enhancing its flavor with spritzes, to taste. For even more citrus flavor, sprinkle the zest atop the fruit salad.
Herbs Aren’t Just For Garnish
Mint often finds itself garnishing fruit salads, only to be plucked up and discarded to the side. But herbs, especially mint, actually add a refreshing seasoning to fruit salads with melons, berries, and citrus.
Sprinkle Unripened Fruit With Granulated Sugar
Every once in a while, you’ll come across a batch of berries that are tart and tough, signaling that they are not quite ripe. Soften and sweeten unripened fruit with granulated sugar, to taste. The granules will dissolve into the fruit after a few minutes, so no need to worry about the initial grainy texture.
Add Whipped Cream or Yogurt
Especially on berries and stone fruit, a little dollop of whipped cream or yogurt adds an unparalleled creamy richness to fruit salads.