January 04, 2013
Fruit is a miraculous thing isn’t it? We love fruit and enjoy it in the most unique ways. We decided to keep things simple today and make a traditional fruit salad that is not so traditional. Yes you can still eat fresh fruit in the fall and winter. There are many great fruits out there that peak this time of year and it’s our duty to liven them up a bit! This Winter Fruit Salad with Citrus and Honey Dressing is the perfect example of that. Sweet, sultry and delicious are just a couple of words to describe the aromas and taste that come out of this salad!
Like I said, you can eat fresh fruit during the fall and winter months. One type of fruit that peaks this time of year (yet not necessarily in this part of the world) are pomegranates. Pomegranates are so rich and full of antioxidants that I really don’t understand why people don’t use them more. I know that to buy the juices can get pretty expensive, but if you buy just the fruit and save those cute little seeds, you can make some pretty cool things out of it. Any excuse to use a pomegranate is the highlight of my day in this house.
So I am going to go on a bit of a tangent and complain about the produce that comes out of some of the nation’s grocery stores. I will not name names, but I was truly appalled at the look and feel of the produce of our local “mega supermarket.” Unfortunately the farm season here in Northern Colorado is over when it comes to fruit. The farmers markets have packed their bags for the winter, and our CSA ended over a month ago. What to do, what to do…well you really only have one choice and that is to go to the local market (unless you want to start a greenhouse in your living room). So yesterday, I did just that. I actually had planned to have this recipe up and going yesterday, but the lack of freshness coming out of the fruit I bought was overwhelming. Not to mention that I wasted $35. The kumquats were mushy and the mango was brown. I had to start over. I would like to make a suggestion. Spend the extra couple of bucks and go to a Whole Foods or other all-natural market for your produce this time of year. They aren’t always perfect and they certainly aren’t the cheapest, but for the most part they aren’t going to sell you crap. This is an example in which you don’t want to go cheap on. It’s not worth it and it will taste bad. Trust me!
My favorite part of this salad is the dressing. It’s not your everyday yogurt-based dressing you find in most “fruit salads.” There’s actually no yogurt at all. It’s purely a simple syrup that combines flavors of orange, vanilla and honey. It’s just so delicious. I know that vanilla bean can get on the high side as far as price is concerned, but it really does add a special little taste to this salad. Don’t skip out on it! Stock up when it’s on sale like I did. =)
This fruit salad is really perfect any time of day. It’s the perfect starter to a busy day, and it’s a dish that will keep in the fridge for at least a week as long as it’s sealed up properly. You do not have to use the same fruit as I did. There might be a chance you can’t find a blood orange, and mangos are iffy this time of year, so you can skip that as well. Take a walk around the fruit in your grocery store. Pick up what looks good and what looks and feels fresh. The only rule is that there are no rules, so use your imagination!
*Please Note* There is some inactive time in this recipe. Once the salad is all complete, you want to refrigerate for at least an hour to let the flavors meld together. This is important so don’t skip it!
Always remember to buy local, buy all natural and buy fresh when it comes to your produce. Unless, of course, it’s something that doesn’t grow here =). There is no other way and you really can’t go wrong.
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ cup honey
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
- 1 tablespoon orange zest, or zest from one orange
- ¼ cup orange juice, or freshly squeezed from one large orange
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed from one lemon
- ¼ cup water
- seeds from two vanilla beans (save the pods)
- 3 kiwis, skinned and chopped into ¼ inch pieces
- 1 cup red, seedless grapes, washed
- ½ of a pineapple, skinned and chopped into ¼ inch pieces
- 1 blood orange, skinned and partitioned
- 8-10 kumquats, washed and cut in half
- 1 mango, skinned and chopped into ¼ inch pieces
- ¼ cup pomegranate seeds (1/2 of a pomegranate)
- In a small saucepan, whisk together the sugar, honey, corn starch, orange zest, orange juice, lemon juice, water, vanilla bean seeds and pods. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to a simmer for about 4 minutes, continuously stirring so as the sugar and starch dissolves. Remove from heat and transfer immediately to another bowl, cover and refrigerate.
- Meanwhile, get your fruit ready. Once your fruit is chopped and ready, combine all but the pomegranate seeds in a large bowl. Remove the dressing from the fridge and discard of the vanilla bean pods. Gently pour the dressing over the fruit and gently fold over to combine. Now, gently stir in the pomegranate seeds.
- Cover and refrigerate for an hour before serving.