How to Keep Fruit Salad Fresh

Wondering how to keep fruit salad fresh? We have a few options.

Fruit salad is a delicious, healthy treat in the summertime. It’s perfect as a cool afternoon snack, and it’s sweet enough to serve for dessert. But some fruits oxidize and turn brown as soon as they’re cut, turning a delicious-looking treat into a questionable appearance. So how do you keep fruit salad fresh? By preventing the cut fruit from turning brown!

How to Keep Fruit Salad Fresh

Orange Juice or Pineapple Juice

The easiest way to keep fruit salad fresh without any extra effort is to use an acidic juice. Orange juice and pineapple juice are our favorites because they have a nice sweet-tart balance that adds a fresh note to the fruit salad. Meanwhile, the acid in the juice prevents fruits like apples and pears from turning brown in the mix. This method is as easy as tossing cut fruit in a few tablespoons of orange juice.

You can also use orange juice to create a dressing for your fruit salad. Combine 1/3 cup thawed orange juice concentrate with 1/2 cup honey, 1 tablespoon canola oil and 1 tablespoon poppy seeds. Pour the dressing over your favorite fruits, like strawberries, grapes, pineapple, apples, navel oranges and sliced bananas.

Simple Syrup

This fruit-saving hack is a great option if you want to amp up the sweet vibes of your fruit salad. Simply combine 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup white sugar in a small saucepan. Add two tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice (or lime juice, if you want to create a tropical flair). Feel free to add fresh herbs like mint, if you like. Heat the mixture for a few minutes over medium heat, until the sugar is dissolved. Then, transfer it to the fridge to cool.

While the syrup chills, prepare the fruit for your favorite fruit salad. We recommend tart fruits for this one, like blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and pineapple. Pour the syrup over the fruit, toss it together and enjoy!

Acidulated Water

If you don’t want to add extra flavor to your fruit salad, Taste of Home food editor Rashanda Cobbins suggests using acidulated water. A quick dunk in a combination of acid and water keeps the fruit from turning brown without changing its flavor profile.

In a large bowl, combine 1 cup of water with 1 teaspoon lemon or lime juice (or 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar). Dip the cut fruit into the water until it’s completely coated before removing it to a mixing bowl. This method works especially well for fruit salads featuring apples or pears.

Sprite or 7-Up

Taste of Home Deputy Editor James Schend suggests tossing fruits like apples, pears and peaches in Sprite or 7-Up to help stop browning. How does that work? Well, soda is essentially a strong, sparkling simple syrup, so the sugars in the soda coat the cut edges and keep the fruit from oxidizing. You can take this one to the next level and create sparkling fruit salad, which is super refreshing on a hot summer day.

Dressing

Old-fashioned fruit salad recipes often call for a dressing made from heavy whipping cream, mayonnaise or sour cream. These thick dressings keep the fruit from oxidizing by preventing them from being exposed to oxygen. Have some fun with this modern company fruit salad, or go old-school and add marshmallows to the mix (like we do in this cranberry ambrosia salad recipe).

The Best Way to Store Fruit Salad

It’s best to store fruit salad in an airtight container in the refrigerator. These containers create the perfect level of moisture and humidity for cut fruit, helping the pieces stay fresher for longer. We also love using these reusable silicone bags to create individual portions that are easy to grab and go for lunch.

If you’re adding bananas to your fruit salad, we recommend keeping them out of the storage container. Instead, slice them right before serving. No matter which method you use to keep fruit salad fresh, the bananas will get mushy in the fridge overnight.

How Long Does Fruit Salad Last?

Fruit salad tastes best when enjoyed within three days, but it will last up to five days in the refrigerator in an airtight container. If you’re planning to save leftover fruit salad, it’s important to transfer the container to the refrigerator as quickly as possible after cutting and mixing the fruit. Fruit salad that has been left at room temperature for more than two hours should be discarded.

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Lindsay D. Mattison
After years of working in professional kitchens, Lindsay traded her knives in for the pen. While she spends most of her time writing these days, she still exercises her culinary muscles on the regular, taking any opportunity to turn local, seasonal ingredients into beautiful meals for her family.