Fresh fruit salad is a nutritious and delicious dish that will soon go brown and spoil quickly unless some preserving method is used. There are several commercial products designed to preserve fruit, and they all use the same combination of ingredients: dextrose, ascorbic acid, citric acid and silicon dioxide. These products will keep fruit salad fresh for about four to six hours, depending on which fruits are in the salad mix. Alternatively, make a homemade preservative using just a pinch of salt, lemon juice and tinned pineapple juice.
Prepare the preservative. Fresh fruit will quickly begin to wilt and turn brown as soon as it is cut, so add the preservative immediately. If commercial preservative is to be used, make sure it is open and ready to go. If you plan to use homemade preservative, use the following recipe: 25 ml (1/8 cup) cold water; 50 ml (1/4 cup) tinned pineapple juice; 2 ml (1/2 tsp) lemon juice and a pinch of salt.
Combine the ingredients in a small mixing bowl and stir until the salt is completely dissolved. To measure a pinch of salt, dip the tip of a chef's knife into salt until the crystals cover the end of the blade tip. Use this method to measure a pinch of any dried spice or seasoning.
Cut fresh fruit into bite-sized pieces. Place the cut fruit into a large mixing bowl. Mix until the fruit is blended well.
Add the preservative to the cut fruit. Mix well, coating the fruit pieces evenly with preservative. Keep the fruit salad refrigerated until you are ready to serve it; allow the fruit pieces to remain in the excess juices until you are ready to place the salad into a serving dish.
Strain excess liquid from the fruit mix before serving it. Use a colander or strainer to drain all of the fruit at once, or use a slotted spoon to strain individual portions to order.
Keep fruit salad covered with cling film until ready to serve; contact with air is the main cause of cut fruit turning brown or wilting.
Cool serving dishes before adding fruit salad; heat will accelerate spoiling. Place the dishes in the fridge for 15 minutes before adding the fruit salad, or fill serving dishes with ice water and then drain to cool them.
Follow the manufacturer's directions for using commercial preservative. Using too much can actually increase the rate of spoiling.
Tips and warnings
- Keep fruit salad covered with cling film until ready to serve; contact with air is the main cause of cut fruit turning brown or wilting.
- Cool serving dishes before adding fruit salad; heat will accelerate spoiling. Place the dishes in the fridge for 15 minutes before adding the fruit salad, or fill serving dishes with ice water and then drain to cool them.