Amish Fruit Salad
This recipe for Amish fruit salad is made with a sweetened homemade fruit sauce that has been thickened to perfection. And it incorporates a combination of both canned and fresh fruits, resulting in a delightful and refreshing medley of flavors.
Prepare to be enchanted with every spoonful of this amazing fruit salad, as it delivers a symphony of mouthwatering flavors that will leave you craving for more. This uncomplicated and light dessert is an ideal choice to grace potlucks or family gatherings, ensuring a delightful treat for all to enjoy.
In Amish culture, where meals are often served to large crowds, resourcefulness and frugality are highly valued. Amish women, renowned for their culinary skills, ingeniously create tasty dishes using ingredients already available in their pantry or cellar.
And growing up Amish, fruit salad with sauce was a dish that was often served alongside cakes, pies, and pudding.
Our group was predominantly comprised of dairy farmers, granting us an abundance of milk. So we made lots of homemade thick and creamy cornstarch pudding. Our pantry was always stocked with essential ingredients, allowing us to whip up a homemade cake whenever an occasion arose. And, of course, our shelves were lined with jars of canned fruits, preserved from the bounty of summer harvest. So homemade fruit salad with a glaze-like sauce was a dessert dish that was served many times.
And we never served a solitary dessert dish but rather presented an array of complementary dishes. Cake accompanied by pudding and fruit salad with dressing was a combination we thoroughly enjoyed.
Variety of Fruit
The specific ingredients used in Amish fruit salad can vary, depending on personal preferences and the availability of fruits. However, some common fruits that we typically included are:
- Apples: Crisp and juicy apples, such as Gala or Fuji, are commonly used. They provide a sweet and slightly tart flavor.
- Oranges: Segmented oranges or mandarin oranges add a bright citrusy taste and a burst of freshness to the salad.
- Bananas: Sliced bananas contribute a creamy and smooth texture to the salad, along with their naturally sweet flavor. (However, I recommend adding them just before serving.)
- Grapes: Red or green seedless grapes are often included (typically cut in half), offering a juicy and slightly tangy element to the salad.
- Pineapple: Chunks or tidbits of pineapple bring a tropical sweetness to the mix, balancing the flavors of the other fruits. (And if preferred, you could use fresh pineapple as well.)
- Peaches: Canned peaches bring a delightful sweetness that adds a pleasant contrast to the overall taste profile of the fruit salad. And the soft texture adds a pleasing melt-in-your-mouth quality to the fruit salad, complementing the firmer texture of other fruits.
- Berries: Depending on the season, berries such as strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries can be added, adding vibrant colors and a delightful sweetness.
This amazing fruit salad can be made with whatever fruit you have on hand. Sometimes we made it made with mostly canned fruits such as peaches, pears, and pineapple. But we loved when it had grapes in it as well. And fresh berries are definitely a great addition.
Sweet Fruit Salad Dressing
Homemade fruit salad dressing is easy to make, and you can adjust the sweetness as desired.
Fruit is already sweet, so I don't like making the dressing too sweet. Therefore, I only add a 3/4 cup full of sugar. My original Amish fruit salad sauce recipe had one and a half cups of sugar, and that's too much for me. But if you enjoy really sweet sweets, then you might like it with 1 1/2 cups.
The sauce is thickened with clear jel and jello. And you could adjust that a bit too depending on how thick you like the sauce.
Clear Jel and cornstarch are both common thickeners used in cooking. However, Clear Jel is a modified cornstarch that withstands high temperatures and freezing, making it ideal for canning and pie fillings.
And clear jel is always my preferred thickener when it comes to thickening sauce for fruit. It doesn't get cloudy like cornstarch and leaves no aftertaste. Plus it doesn't continue thickening after being chilled. Therefore, when you are finished cooking the sauce/dressing, you can tell how thick it will be.
But I know that you can't walk into Walmart and buy clear jel, and most grocery stores don't carry it. However, you can typically find it at Amish and Mennonite bulk food stores. So if you're lucky enough to have one of those close by, you can probably purchase it there. (Make sure you get the cook-type clear jel and not instant.)
You can also purchase it online at Amazon, so I'm leaving a link here for you.
(This morning when I decided to make this fruit salad, I remembered that I finished my clear jel the last time. So I decided to make a run to the local Mennonite store to get more clear jel. When I couldn't find any on the shelf, I asked the lady at the store if they don't carry clear jel. And they don't. "What? Why no clear jel?" Ends up that for some reason they like to use Therm Flo better than clear jel. She said it works pretty much the same. So now I have Therm Flo instead of clear jel. And I couldn't really tell any difference when I used it. So, if your local bulk food store doesn't have clear jel, maybe you have to look for Therm Flo instead.)
Can I Use Cornstarch?
I have not tried this recipe using cornstarch instead of clear jel. But if you must, you can use cornstarch. However, it works a bit differently, so it probably won't be an even trade.
I'm honestly not sure how much cornstarch you will need to use to replace the clear jel. But some folk will tell you that you need to use a little more than half the amount of cornstarch. So, in other words, to replace a half cup of clear jel, you may need an approximate one-third cup of cornstarch.
Fruit Salad with Sauce
To prepare Amish fruit salad, the fruits are washed, peeled if necessary, and cut into bite-sized pieces. They are then combined in a large bowl and gently mixed to distribute the flavors. The dressing is added and carefully stirred into the fruit mixture until evenly coated.
Amish fruit salad is served well chilled, allowing the flavors to blend together. So most times when I make this fruit salad, I cook the sauce the day before I want to serve it. Let the sauce cool. Then mix it with apples, peaches, pineapples, oranges, kiwis, etc. Then I refrigerate it overnight.
The next morning, I add fresh berries and bananas (I don't always add bananas) and serve.
Fruit salad can be enjoyed as a refreshing side dish, a light dessert, or a standalone snack. Combining fresh, juicy fruits with creamy dressing creates a harmonious blend of textures and flavors that are both satisfying and wholesome.
I hope you get to try this recipe. And if you do, I would love it if you left a comment and star rating below. Thank you!
Amish Fruit Salad Recipe
- 3 c. water
- 2 c. pineapple juice (or a combination of pineapple juice and peach juice)
- 3/4 - 1 1/2 c. sugar
- 1/4 c. lemon juice
- 1 (3 oz.) pkg. lemon jello
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 c. clear jel mixed with 3/4 c. water
- 2 - 3 apples, cored and diced
- 1 - 2 cans pineapple tidbits or chunks, drained
- 1 - 2 cans peach slices (halved), drained
- 1 can mandarin oranges, drained (or fresh orange segments)
- kiwis, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
- seedless grapes, halved
- bananas, cut into slices
- fresh berries
- In a saucepan, mix the water, fruit juice (you can drain the juice from the pineapple and peaches that you will be adding), sugar, lemon juice, jello, and salt.3 c. water, 2 c. pineapple juice (or a combination of pineapple juice and peach juice), 3/4 - 1 1/2 c. sugar, 1/4 c. lemon juice, pinch of salt, 1 (3 oz.) pkg. lemon jello
- Heat to boiling.
- Mix the clear jel with cold water to create a slurry.1/2 c. clear jel mixed with 3/4 c. water
- Slowly pour the slurry into the hot liquid while whisking. Continue whisking, and allow the mixture to come to a boil (be careful as it may splatter).
- Set the sauce aside to cool.
To make fruit salad:
- Wash and prepare fruit as desired.
- In a large bowl, gently mix apples, pineapples, peaches, oranges, kiwis, and grapes with the cooled fruit sauce and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.2 - 3 apples, cored and diced, 1 - 2 cans pineapple tidbits or chunks, drained, 1 - 2 cans peach slices (halved), drained, 1 can mandarin oranges, drained (or fresh orange segments), kiwis, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces, seedless grapes, halved
- Before serving, add banana slices and fresh berries as desired.bananas, cut into slices, fresh berries
- Keep refrigerated.