At any given time, you can find a variety of fresh fruit in my home. Both my boys are addicted to nature’s candy, and I make a habit of reaching for handful of ripe, tart raspberries or a slice of cool, refreshing melon a few times per day.
But not every day. And certainly not five (5) times a day, the minimal requirement according to Canada’s Food Guide.
The truth is, if the fruit in my fridge looked more like the picture on the right, I’d likely indulge much, much more often. It’s the lure of fresh cut fruit.
It’s colourful, inviting, and most importantly – all the work is done for you. You simply have to grab a fork and enjoy… and grocery stores do enjoy charging you a premium for something as simple as slicing a few strawberries and adding a handful of grapes for colour. $6.74 for a small bowl of fruit, likely valued at about $1.30? Someone will pay it.
I used to. I too was once swayed by the promise of cold, delicious fruit; all pretty and juicy and full of vitamins and just enough to fill me up with a variety of tastes and textures that I craved. In fact, when I was pregnant with my second, my husband will grudgingly fondly recall tales of 11:00pm grocery runs to deliver a bowl of fresh cut fruit to me (I’d literally wait at the kitchen table with a fork in hand and an eye on the front door).
However, spending $5+ on fruit got old really quick, and I resigned myself to once again sneaking the odd serving of berries or a banana. Not. very. inspiring.
So I thought to myself, “What is stopping me from having the perfect fruit salad at home? Surely I can make it myself – for a fraction of the cost!” (Newsflash – cutting up fruit takes exactly one knife and one bowl – how simple!)
But then it goes all brown and yucky. And I’m too lazy to spend all that time making a whole bowl that gets runny and limp after a few days…. any more excuses?
Here’s what I did: I searched Tips for Keeping Fruit Salad Fresh and Tasty. And I came up with:
– Fresh cut fruit stays fresh in the refrigerator for a maximum of three days. The good news: you’ll only have to do your cutting twice per week.
– Most people will tell you to sprinkle your fruit salad with lemon juice to keep it from oxidizing, but really, a little bit of acid from sliced oranges or pineapple is all you need to help it stay bright and firm.
– Stay away from apples, pears and bananas. They lose colour and texture quickly, and can be unappetizing after being exposed to air for about 15 minutes.
– If you’d like to include apples, cut the fruit in water to prevent the browning process. Water washes away enzymes that will break down the fruit – just be sure to dry the fruit slices before storing them, since the moisture can cause them to spoil more quickly.
– Cut up fruit at night when you’re less likely to be in a rush. I’m lucky to have a television within view of my counter top, so I tune into the latest must-see-tv and peel, chop and slice away.
And here’s the key: single serving, air-tight containers. It may be tempting to dump the whole works in a big bowl, but too many juices can macerate the fruit, and every time you lift the top, you’re accelerating the decaying process (sounds so romantic, eh?). So grab those food storage containers and divvy your fresh cut fruit into 3-4 servings.
Et voila! Fresh cut fruit you can enjoy daily with minimal preparation and maximum enjoyment. I grab a bowl with breakfast, add granola and yogurt for a healthy afternoon snack, or for a yummy dessert, top off with a dollop of Cool Whip. Enjoy!