Friday, July 10, 2009

The Squirrel Can Cook - Mrs. Squirrel's Fruit Salad

This week I bring you a treat from Mrs. Squirrel's recipe file. This fruit salad has become a family favorite for pot-lucks, picnics, and just hot summer evenings when you don't want anything hot or heavy to eat. I now turn my keyboard over to Mrs. Squirrel.

Here we go: This is really just a foundation to which you can add (or change) lots of things. The original recipe that came to me had regular (heavy syrup & small pieces) fruit cocktail and chunky pineapple. Using no-sugar-added fruit & pudding makes the salad lighter, a bit more diabetic friendly and quite refreshing (especially on a hot summer day). I also found (by happy accident) that crushed pineapple makes a salad that is less likely to "invade" other food items on your plate (perfect for potluck meals), so I made it a permanent change in my own recipe. As follows:

Three cans (15oz) of chunky fruit cocktail (no sugar added)
One can (20oz) of crushed pineapple (no sugar added)
One package of sugar free lemon pudding mix
One large crunchy apple - Granny Smith (or your favorite)

Directions: Drain all canned fruit and KEEP THE JUICE. In a large mixing bowl, gently mix the fruit cocktail and pineapple together. Dice up the apple and add to the fruit mixing occasionally (the pineapple acids keep it from turning brown). Open the dry pudding mix and sprinkle it over the fruit. Gently combine all of the dry pudding into the fruit. This will make a very thick "mess", so begin to add some of the fruit juice as you mix the salad to thin out the pudding. Keep adding fruit juice to reach the desired consistency. [I typically have a lot of the juice left over, but I save it and drink it later as a treat.]

Note #1: The fruit itself will release some of it's juice as it sits, so thicker pudding is easier to contend with than thinner pudding.

Note #2: I highly recommend letting the salad sit for a few hours (or over night) so the pudding absorbs the juice and loses that gritty "powder" texture. Remember to stir the salad again before serving (to mix any juice that has separated).

Note #3: This recipe fits very nicely in a bowl that holds 10-cups.

Some options I had considered but have not yet tried:
  • Adding different kinds fruits like bananas or mandarin oranges.
  • Adding nuts.
  • Changing the flavor of the sugar free pudding - white chocolate or cheesecake seemed like decadent choices (but sounded potentially a little heavy).
  • Possibly blender-ing it and freezing it into home-made pudding pops.

Play with it! Enjoy!

When Mrs. Squirrel made the batch that is pictured above, we were out of apple, so it got left out. It was good without it, but it is better with it! But, hey, you work with what you've got, right?

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