Summer in a fruit cup

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At first, I wanted to name this article the deconstructed fruit bowl. Instead of a fruit cup, I was planning to slice the fruits and set up a fruit bar so as to allow each person to dream and create a fruit bowl according to their personal taste. I must confess that by going that route, I also wanted to be able to enjoy my pineapple and mango on their own, as I am not necessarily fond of melons in general even though they are among the most refreshing fruits we have in the summer here in Haiti.

But, just as I stood there knife in hand ready to cut through the fruits that were perfectly lined up on our countertop, I went back in time. Memories of my childhood came flooding back.

There we were, my sister and I, standing at that same spot 20 something years ago waiting for someone to cut through the fruits or peel the ones that needed to be extracted of their outer skin, anticipating the fun we’d have turning those fruits into bite-sized fruit balls.

The melon baller was one of my favorite kitchen utensils at the time. I was somehow mesmerized by the fact that it turned those melons into small balls that reminded me of marbles. I thus enjoyed this fruit cocktail’s preparation even though I was never a big fan of this melon mixture for I always believed those fruits overpowered the others with their strong aroma.

I took turn with my sister, extracting the flesh of each of the items in front of us: watermelon, cantaloupe, melon France, pineapple that were handed to us one after the other. Our personal challenge was to produce a cocktail that had perfectly rounded fruit balls with as few flat sided ones as possible. We were so passionate about this process that, with time, we also learned to avoid the watermelon seeds as we dug into the pulp, and to extract the rebellious ones with our small children fingers without crushing the flesh.

This fruit cocktail became quite the family staple through the years. Year after year, it refreshes our hot summer days with its three melon varieties and pineapple, ingredients that are at the core of this fruit bowl. When we wanted to go a little wild, which happened every once in a while, we added a different twist to it and mixed in other fruits of the season based on our mood or what we had at the house.

This explains why today’s summer in a cup of fruit features mango baptiste alongside the melon trinity and pineapple. I could have explored other flavors by also including some Caribbean apricots and papaya but I chose not to for various reasons.

As I pictured my eight year old self in that kitchen, it occurred to me that the apricot would not be easily turned into balls for that flesh is quite firm. The little OCD girl I was would not have been happy with weirdly shaped apricot slices in what was to be the perfect fruit ball cocktail. As for the papaya, well, I’ll just be blunt and say it as it is: my taste buds have yet to get along with this fruit that releases such a strong perfume.

That is why the above fruit cocktail that features the best of this season’s fruits, in my biased opinion, remained simple. I wanted it to be as close as possible to the one we prepared at my house throughout my childhood, and I hope you will enjoy it as much as my family does.

Ingredients

  • Watermelon
  • Cantaloupe
  • Honeydew
  • Pineapple
  • Other fruits of your choice such as mango, apricot, papaya or banana

Instructions

  1. Wash the fruits and separate them in two groups: the ones that will be cut and the ones that will be used for their juice
  2. Cut the first group using a melon baller or dice them
  3. Mix in cut fruits and juice
  4. Put in the fridge
  5. Serve cool.

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