I’ve mentioned my great-grandmother Rosa’s fruit salad many times on this blog over the years. It’s a must-have at Thanksgiving and Christmas in my family. It is citrusy and sweet and we all look forward to it each holiday.
I only make it twice a year, but Rosa used to make it once a week in single-serving aluminum molds to keep in her fridge for when the grandkids stopped by. I just love that and I almost want to do it, but I would probably eat all of them and that wouldn’t be a good thing.
This is Rosa, holding her daughter, my Oma (grandmother), also named Marian.
Most of our family recipes came from Rosa and most of them are pretty common southern favorites like cheese straws, biscuits, pimento cheese spread, and teacakes.
But her fruit salad seems to be pretty unique. I have never, ever been served it or have seen a recipe like it anywhere else. Some of you have asked for the recipe and now I am finally sharing it with you.
Rosa's Fruit Salad
- 2 oranges
- 2 grapefruit
- 1 20 oz can pineapple chunks in fruit juice
- 1 jar maraschino cherries
- 1 box Knox gelatin (4 envelopes)
- 1 cup sugar
- Peel and section grapefruit and oranges into a large bowl, adding juice as well.
- Drain pineapples, reserving juice. Add pineapples to bowl with grapefruit and oranges.
- Add 1 cup white granulated sugar and juice of two lemons and stir. (If you want to cut the sugar, I've used as little as 1/2 cup and it still tasted sweet.)
- Dissolve gelatin in 1 cup of cold water.
- Add water to pineapple juice to make 1 cup liquid total. Pour into a pan and bring to a boil. Combine hot pineapple juice with water and gelatin. Stir until combined and add to fruit.
- If using a mold or small molds, line with maraschino cherries. Fill with fruit mixture and chill. If serving in a bowl or casserole, stir cherries into fruit and gelatin mixture and chill until set, usually 4-6 hours.
We all love leftovers, so I almost always make a double batch and, when I do, I throw in extra oranges and grapefruit and just double everything else.
One important note, you cannot use FRESH pineapple for this recipe. The gelatin will not set if you use fresh.
This is also a juicy, sticky mess to make, so it’s a good idea to use a cutting board with a trough, if you have one, like one used for carving meat.
As I mentioned above, the original recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar. I have kept cutting it back to see how little sugar I can put in it and still have it be sweet. If you use good fruit, there is plenty of sweetness in the oranges and pineapple to just add a 1/2 cup. I tend to not like things super-sweet, though.
Except my blog readers. I like them super-sweet.
So, I hope some of you try the recipe and let me know what you think! It’s a great way to use citrus that you get in a holiday gift basket.