Fruit salads are rich in vitamins, beauty and colour. Take advantage of the many colours of fruit to create artful presentations at the dining table. Think of the occasion, portability and longevity of the fruit salad when deciding how to display it. Serve in a bowl for a large group of people; in individual servings if hosting an intimate lunch or dinner party where the exact number of guests is known.
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Use the fruit as a serving bowl for picnics, cookouts and potlucks to eliminate cleanup of a sticky dish at the end. Medium-size watermelon and honeydew are good choices, since they are sturdy with a thick rind. Slice the melon of choice in half and use a melon-baller to scoop out the pulp into a mixing bowl. Chop the desired fruit into bite-size pieces and refill the melon. Cover tightly with cling film and store in the refrigerator until it is time to serve.
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Layering the fruit salad makes an elegant presentation. The bottom layer of the fruit salad should be a fruit that fares well with liquid, such as apple cubes. Choose an array of rich coloured fruit for this salad, such as blueberries, kiwis, mandarin orange slices and cherries, layered with lighter tones, such as sliced bananas and pears. Keep tightly covered with cling film till serving time in the refrigerator.
Serve small, individual cups of fruit salad when hosting a meal. These can be presented in halved apples, ramekins, ice cream dishes, wine glasses or even clear drinking glasses. Individual presentations open the opportunity to modify the salad. Make the bottom layer of gelatin with a fruit of choice, chocolate mousse or Greek yoghurt with honey to add some variety to the layering of the salad. Serve chilled and enjoy the compliments.
Consider the number of people when preparing the fruit salad. If for a group more than 10, prepare it for a few people less, in order to avoid discarding warm and ruined fruit. Bananas, apples and pears get browner than citrus fruits and berries. Ina Garten, known as the Barefoot Contessa, recommends preparing the salad close to the mealtime, splash with limoncello or squeeze the juice from a lemon or two to keep it from browning, and keep refrigerated or out of direct sunlight and heat.
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