Is a fruit cocktail really a cocktail? Why would we question a fruit cocktail being a cocktail, when it's so obvious from the name? Strangely, a this summer dish can be many things other than an alcoholic beverage with fruit in it. Let's look at some of the alternatives to a traditional fruit cocktail.
Fruit Cocktail Dessert
Let's start with the OG of all cooking OGs, Betty Crocker. According to her kitchen team, a fruit cocktail can be served as a dessert. Their advice is to serve it as a "finish to a light meal, or a terrific topping for ice cream."
A fruit cocktail consists of diced fruit mixed with sugar, lime juice or lemon juice and water to make it smooth. In their homemade fruit cocktail, they use nectarines, peaches, cherries and canned pineapple chunks. You can easily eat it as it is, or use it as a topping with Cool Whip or ice cream. If you're really feeling fancy you can add additional tropical fruit, watermelon, or even maraschino cherries. This traditional dessert can also be served with Jell-O, but pick your flavor carefully. Sound delicious, right?
Fruit Cocktail Salad
Here's where it get's tricky. A cocktail and a salad are basically the same thing. That's why this side dish is sometimes called a fruit salad cocktail. They both contain fresh fruit in the form of apples, bananas, grapes and mandarin oranges. Thats's pretty much it! You can usually buy this salad recipe in 8 oz cans from the grocery store, which helps if you're trying to keep an eye on your serving size. Unfortunately, these are usually loaded with heavy syrup, which you can skip out on if you make it at home.
So, what's the difference between a fruit salad and a fruit cocktail? A fruit salad has larger pieces of fruit, whereas a fruit cocktail will be diced. Canned versions also contain fruit juice, which you can drain if you're wanting to use the fruit alone. Mix the fruit with some marshmallows into vanilla pudding mix to fluff it up for a potluck. Fruit mixed with Cool Whip is usually the basis for a recipe many know as "Pink Fluff" or "Green Fluff", depending on the flavoring you add in. If you're having to make a large bowl of something for a party, using canned fruit should can cut down on total time spent in the kitchen. These recipes aren't light on the carbohydrates or cholesterol, but who's counting?
With National Fruit Cocktail Day approaching in May, try out this super easy recipe from Natasha's Kitchen. All you need to do is gather the fruit and mix in some yogurt and whipped cream for a cooling treat in the summer heat.
Fruit Cocktail Drink
A fruit cocktail can also be as simple as a yummy drink. According to Merriam-Webster, you can basically take a fruit cup and pour some liquor into it. For a fresher version, add in some juice, soda or simple syrup to really enhance all the flavors. It sounds a bit unhealthy, but think of all the vitamin c you're taking care of!