Salads & Sandwiches

Fresh Fruit Salad

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What is the secret to making fresh fruit salad? Why fresh fruit, of course. Learn all of my secrets to having perfectly ripe fruit salad year round!

Mixed fruit salad in watermelon boat.Pin
Fresh Fruit Salad

This is less of a “recipe” post and more of a how-to post. The season for fresh fruit in upstate New York is so short that I feel that it’s a terrible shame to add lots of other ingredients to the perfectly fresh fruit! Why add sugar or honey or anything else to fresh, seasonal produce? The fruit is sweet enough already and bursting with flavor!

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Fresh fruit salad in watermelon basketPin

Of the course, the most critical part of having a fresh fruit salad is buying fresh fruit! That is what I’m here to help you with today! Even if it is the middle of winter, you can have a fresh fruit salad, with a few simple tips to picking out the perfect produce, and a bit of know-how!

How to determine fruit is ripe?

Fruit salad served in watermelon shipPin

Each fruit has it’s own specific “trick” to determine the fruits’ ripeness. For virtually all fruits, the first test is to smell the fruit. If the fruit smells like itself, that is the first sign of ripeness. Some fruits like cantaloupe, should have a very strong smell!

For cantaloupe

Push on the stem end of the melon, (the end with the divet in it) it should be spongy, and give a bit when pressed, not hard. Look at the color of the melon. Cantaloupe should have little to no green between the raised ridges of the skin. It should be a uniform color that matches the color of the raised ridges.

For hard skinned melons

Honeydew, Casaba and watermelon can be tested by the smell test, and then, holding the melon in one hand, rap the melon with your knuckle on the other hand, the melon should sound hollow, when you place your ear toward the sound. If it doesn’t sound hollow, it is not ripe.

For pineapple

Pineapple, like cantaloupe, should have little visible green on the skin. The skin should be a nice yellow color. Even some brown on the stem end is fine. The other test is to take the centermost “leaf” from the top crown and pluck it out with 2 fingers, if it plucks out easily, it is ripe.

fruit salad in carved shipPin

How to artificially ripen fruit at home after purchase

If you think about it enough in advance, you can ripen some fruits successfully at home. Melons and pineapple can be ripened in a paper bag for up to a week. Check daily to see how the process is going. They can also be ripened on a sunny counter for a week or more. Check for rot daily. If you see any signs of rot, cut off the affected area and a large area around it to eliminate that portion. Then refrigerate.

Close up of carved sword made from watermelonPin

What fruit to use in fresh fruit salad

Really, any fruit can be used in fruit salad. There are some fruits that I rarely add to fruit salad because they do not last more than a few hours before browning or discoloring and losing their fresh texture. These fruits include; bananas, peaches and nectarines. They can be added to the salad, but should be consumed within the first hour after cutting them up.

For more information on storing different fruits, see the 5th part of my series, link below.

Love Gardening? If you love growing your own produce, these posts are packed full of information about how to get that big harvest by the end of the season! Don’t miss How to Start a Garden Series! The first part is Planning Your Garden!

Second is Preparing the Garden Site.

The third is Choosing Plants and Planting Your Garden.

The fourth is Garden Maintenance, and the last is Harvesting a Garden and Preserving the Harvest, this post has over 100 FREE recipes for preserving your harvest!

Can fresh fruit salad be frozen?

Carved cantaloupe cannon and blueberry cannon balls.Pin

The short answer is yes and no. Fresh fruit salad could be frozen, if you want to use the fruit in smoothies, slushies or frozen fruit pops, but the salad can not be eaten fresh again after freezing. The fruit can be eaten frozen as well, for a cool, healthy summer refresher! Here are good suggestions for using frozen fruit salad.

How long will fruit salad last?

Closeup of anchor carved from cantaloupePin

Fruit Salad will only last 2-4 days, if stored in the refrigerator, depending on the type of fruit you add to the salad. Cantaloupe, Honeydew Melon and some of the yellow melons will last approximately 3 days. Blueberries, cherries, pineapple, oranges and hard skinned fruits, like plums will last 3-4 days. Raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, nectarines, peaches and apples will only last 1 day.

Can you make fruit salad a day ahead?

In the same vein of thought, fruit salad is at optimum freshness, texture and flavor if made fresh, the day you are serving it.

How to make it

  1. Wash fruits well. Allow to drain thoroughly.
  2. Remove skin or rind, as needed.
  3. Cut fruit into bite sized pieces.
  4. Place in very large bowl.
  5. Toss gently.

NOTE: Add fruit that will brown at the last minute and gently toss. Some fruits, like apple, peaches and nectarines benefit from a toss in a bit of fresh or bottled lemon or lime juice. Very soft fruit, like raspberries should also be added at the last minute.

Watermelon ship with American flagPin

Other delicious summer salad recipes

Fresh fruit salad in carved watermelonPin

Have some fun with your fruit salad! Make a ship or basket, shark or anything else you can dream up, to serve your fruit salad in! I was never one of those mothers who told the kids not to play with their food. As long as they ate it, after playing with it! 😂 Food should be fun!

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That’s how easy it is to make Fresh Fruit Salad. Thanks for stopping by today!

Enjoy! And have fun cooking!


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Fresh fruit salad in a watermelon sculpture.Pin

Fresh Fruit Salad

What is the secret to making fresh fruit salad? Why fresh fruit, of course. Learn all of my secrets to having perfectly ripe fruit salad year round!

See Step by Step Photos Above!Most of our recipes have step by step photos and videos! Also helpful tips so that you can make it perfectly the first time and every time! Scroll up to see them!
5 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 30 servings
Calories: 45kcal
Author: Beth Neels
Cost: $15


  • 1/2 small watermelon
  • 1/2 small honeydew melon
  • 1 small cantaloupe
  • 6 oz fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 qt fresh strawberries
  • 30-40 black cherries
  • 1-2 tsp lemon or lime juice fresh or bottled for fruits that brown quickly. See notes below.


  • Thoroughly wash all fruit and allow to drain.
  • Cut rind off of melons. Slice melons into bite sized pieces. If desired, use a melon baller to make balls out of the melons. You can add some of the juice from the melons to the bowl, as well.
  • Hull and slice strawberries in half.
  • Pit cherries.
  • Place in large bowl. Toss gently. Refrigerate immediately. Serve within 1 day for optimum freshness.
See all of my favorite tools and gift ideas on my New Amazon Store!Check out Binky’s Amazon Store!


NOTE: For tips on buying fresh produce, see post above.
Fruits that brown quickly like bananas, peaches, nectarines, apples and raspberries should be added just before serving. 
Peaches, nectarines and apples should be tossed separately in a small bowl with a teaspoon or 2 of lemon or lime juice.


Calories: 45kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 8mg | Potassium: 212mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 1080IU | Vitamin C: 26.6mg | Calcium: 11mg | Iron: 0.3mg
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  1. Can u please explain how to make the melon boat. The sails and the extension pieces one ends of watermelon half’s. Thank you

    1. Hi Joanne. Hard to explain exactly. Cut the watermelon top off. Not quite in half. Scoop out the meat and set aside. The bow and the stern and the flags are made from that top part the you remove and they are held on by skewers and long toothpicks. Flags are from the flatter part and bow and stern are the more rounded ends. Bow and stern are also supported by the twine that is the “riggings”. Hope that helps.

  2. 5 stars
    This is adorable! I really appreciate the tips on how to determine if fruit is ripe. I needed that information.

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