I was entrusted to make a fruit salad for an army of 75. What army? The GMHS Varsity and Junior Varsity Football Team. The problem is that I either don’t have enough when I cook for our family of 4 or we have leftovers for days, lol. I’m a terrible judge on how much food to make for a given amount of people. Now I needed to make enough to feed 75 folks! This is where I call my mom and dad. Ok, Steve’s mom and dad but after 17 years, the “in-law” ending is dropped! Both mom and dad are professional caterers and know what they are doing when it comes to cooking and baking. So thanks to mom, I successfully made a Fresh Fruit Salad that was just the right amount for 75 players, coaches and training staff! So, if you are needing to feed an army, here’s a great recipe my mom gave me!
*Printable Recipe: Fresh Fruit Salad
2 honey dew melons
1 large watermelon
2 pounds green grapes
2 pounds black grapes
5 cans of pineapple chunks in unsweetened juice
2.5 cups of apple juice (divided into 1/2 cups)
5 Freezer gallon-size Ziplocs (the weight of all this fruit is heavy so don’t skimp and use cheapo baggies for this)
Mom said to mix it all together in a large tub and then put it in Ziploc bags. Well, I don’t own any tubs that could hold all that fruit! So I went at it one fruit at a time. I used a melon baller because, well, it makes pretty balls of fruit, lol. Cutting up chunks is perfectly acceptable but I prefer the bite size bites guaranteed when using a melon baller. I melon balled one type of fruit at a time and put all the balls into a large bowl. I then used a one cup measuring cup and evenly scooped the fruit into 5 freezer gallon-size Ziploc bags. I started with the cantaloupe, then the honey dew melon and lastly the watermelon. The grapes of course were washed and pulled away from the stems. They too were evenly separated into the bags. I drained the cans of pineapple and added one whole can into each bag. I wanted to also add blueberries but at $4.00 for 1/2 a pound, that wasn’t going to happen, lol! That’s ok, I still have a good mix of fruits in there! The sad truth is not all fruit are sweetened equally. Some fruits are just sweeter than others. To combat this, mom said to add 1/2 a cup of apple juice to each Ziploc bag to ensure that all the fruits are sweet enough. I used 100% apple juice. Gently massage the bag to mix the fruit up and to coat all the pieces with apple juice. Place the bags into the fridge to chill. Using one Ziploc bag at a time, pour the fruit into a large bowl, give it a good stir and serve! Refill the bowl as needed with the remaining Ziploc bags.
NOTE: Fruit creates its own juices once sliced. Prepare fruit salad the day of or the night before serving. If you prepare it too soon you will have too much juice! I brought two bowls to the team dinner. I opened just a corner of the Ziploc and drained all the juice out of the bag into one bowl. In the other bowl, I dumped the fresh fruit and served from that bowl.
NOTE II: Easy clean up! What to do with all that juice when you are at the high school and don’t have access to the kitchen cafeteria? Dump all that juice down the commode! Wipe your bowls dry and get to the game so you can relax and watch the boys battle it out on the football field!