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Fruit Salad, the Healthy Summer Dessert!

In South Africa "fruit salad" means something a little different from most American recipes. A definitive recipe does not exist: you use what fruits you have, and in summer and fall the choice is enormous. This is a healthy, simple way to end any meal, whether humble or grand. Serve with ice cream, sweet whipped cream or custard, or plain, as it comes. Please read extra notes in Directions. Prep time and servings are a wild guess, as it will depend entirely on the fruits you choose and how much salad it will actually be: weights cannot be specified for papayas and melons (cantaloupes)!

SERVES 10 -12

  • 1 papaya, ripe but firm
  • 1 melon, ripe, luscious flavour
  • 3-4 bananas, firm
  • 6-8 canned peach halves, roughly cut up (from a tin, yellow cling peaches, drained, keep syrup)
  • canned lychees
  • 7 ounces glace cherries (or use fresh, pitted cherries)
  • 6 apricots, fresh, ripe, in quarters (canned can be used)
  • 5 kiwi fruits, peeled and quartered
  • 1/2-1 cup granadilla, pulp
  • 2-3 teaspoons vanilla
  • sugar

The main idea is to use at least 6 kinds of fruit. The quantity you use does not matter. The usual base fruit is papaya. Don't add anything except fruits! Halve the recipe if you like, and remember that leftovers are great for breakfast! Or process into smoothies!

A can of litchies, drained and halved, Litchies are delicious in fruit salad.

Hard fruits like apple are not really suitable.

Grapes can be added, or any other soft fuits. If granadillas (grenadillas, whatever) are unobtainable, leave out, but they do lend an exotic flavour. We also use ripe guavas or canned guavas, chopped.

Peel and chop the fresh fruits, but not into small pieces: they should be roughly a small bite each. If you added slightly sour fruits (like fresh pineapple chunks) you will have to add some sugar.

Drain any canned fruits, but keep the syrup.

In a large bowl gently mix the fruits.

Here you have to eyeball the fruit salad and guess how much juice or syrup you want to add. Let's say you decide on 1 1/2 cups. Add the vanilla to the juice/syrup.

I'm mentioning "juice" because there are fantastic pure fruit juices available, which can be used instead of the syrup from cans.

Beware fruits like blueberries, which will stain the entire salad.

You can, if you like, add a sweet citrussy liqueur like Cointreau or Van der Hum, but usually kids love this dessert so keep that in mind.

I didn't mention oranges: unless very carefully cleaned and every scrap of white pith removed, they will eventually lend a bitter taste to the fruit salad. Berries like strawberries can be used, but tend to go too soft.

The salad usually stands a few hours or overnight before serving. And no, it will not last forever because the soft fruits might go mushy and/or discolour.