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. That setup would allow each person to 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.
See, though they are among the most refreshing summer fruits, I am not fond of melons. But, 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. We were waiting for someone to cut through the fruits so that we could turn their flesh into bite-sized fruit balls.
Preparing that fruit salad had become a playful time for us.
We took turns extracting the fruit pulps using a melon baller. Watermelon, cantaloupe, melon France, were among the fruits we had the chance to play with. We tried our best to prepare a fruit salad with perfectly rounded fruit balls, and the least amount of seeds. We had even become experts at extracting the rebellious ones with our small children fingers without crushing the flesh.
This fruit salad had become quite the family staple through the years.
Year after year, it refreshed our hot summer days with its three melon varieties and pineapple. These fruits are at the core of any Haitian fruit bowl. That doesn’t mean we stuck to those and those only, however. We often added our own twist to it. We mixed in other fruits of the season based on our mood or what we had at the house.
This explains why today’s fruit salad 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 perfectly round fruit cocktail. As for the papaya, well, I’ll just say it as it is. My taste buds have yet to get along with this fruit that releases such a strong perfume.
But wait that is not all. I was in the mood for an adult fruit salad.
Though, I wanted this fruit cup to take me down memory lane, I couldn’t help but kick things up a notch. I prepared and poured a mint lime syrup infused with rum atop the fruit salad. I also added some chopped ti bonm to the mix. And, I must admit, even I, the melon hater, enjoyed that salad.
This article was first published on July 8, 2015. The 2019 update includes new pictures and a revised recipe.
Haitian Summer Fruit Salad with mint lime rum syrup
- Other fruits of your choice such as mango apricot, papaya or banana
- Chopped ti bonm mint or peppermint
For the syrup (optional)
- 6 parts of dark rum
- 3 parts of sugar
- 2-3 ti bonm leaves
For the syrup
- In a saucepan, combine the rum, sugar and ti bonm leaves
- Bring to a boil
- Simmer on low heat until it turns into a syrup
- Remove from heat
- Let cool
For the salad
- 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
- Cut the first group using a melon baller or dice them
- Mix in cut fruits and juice
- Put in the fridge Serve cool with the rum syrup (optional)
Ce cocktail en effet fait revivre a chacun les joies estivales de l’enfance haitienne.