Fruktsalat, a healthy and delicious holiday treat

Fruit salad offers a tasty complement or alternative to sweets

fruit

Photo: MatPrat
This fresh fruit salad with its mixture of zingy exotic spices is both a healthy and delicious addition to your holiday table.

Kristi Bissell
Taste of Norway Editor
The Norwegian American

A fresh and colorful fruit salad is often the perfect end to a good meal. With fruit and spices such as figs, clementine oranges, red apples, cinnamon, and star anise, this fruit salad brings you a taste of Christmas.

Full of nutrients and fiber, this salad is a healthy alternative to pastries or sweets for the health-conscious or those on restricted diets.

And for those who want to indulge, it is also a wonderful way to refresh your palette before moving on to a final dessert course.

Some of you may be wondering about the choice of ingredients for this salad and how it creates the taste of Christmas.

There is a long history of serving and eating apples and oranges during the Christmas season, both in Scandinavia and here on this side of the Atlantic. There was a time when fresh fruit was much harder to come by during the winter months, and apples and oranges were considered to be delicacies.

In North America, it also became a tradition to put apples and oranges in Christmas stockings during the Great Depression, a time when many families couldn’t afford to buy holiday presents.

And while fresh figs were not available during the holiday season in former times, this sweet delicacy has long been a part of the Christmas table in its dried form with its delightfully sweet taste. Some say figs even taste better than cookies at Christmastime.

And, oh, those spices! Going back in time, star anise and cinnamon were exotic, expensive spices that had to be imported. They were reserved for special occasions, especially Christmas. They add the perfect zing to this perfect Christmas Fruit Salad—enjoy!

FRUKTSALAT TIL JUL
Christmas Fruit Salad

Minimally adapted from MATPRAT
serves 4

INGREDIENTS 

For the syrup

  • 1 vanilla bean
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1¼ cups water
  • 2 pieces star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ½ cup cranberries

For the fruit salad

  • 2 clementines
  • 2 fresh figs
  • 2 red apples
  • 1 pear
  • 1 persimmon
  • ¼ lb. blackberries
  • 2 tbsps. coarsely chopped pecans (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Cut into the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the vanilla seeds with a knife. Bring the water, sugar, vanilla pod, vanilla seeds, cinnamon stick, and star anise to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring occasionally. Add the cranberries and remove from the heat. Let the cranberries soak in the syrup as it cools to room temperature.
  2. Peel the clementines and separate into segments. Transfer to a serving bowl.
  3. Cut the figs and apples into wedges and dice the pear and persimmon into bite-size pieces. Slice the blackberries in two. Place all of the cut fruit in the bowl with the clementines. Carefully toss everything together.
  4. Remove the star anise, vanilla pod, and cinnamon stick from the syrup. Pour the syrup over the salad and let the fruit soak for about 20 minutes in some of the liquid before serving, gently stirring the mixture occasionally. Sprinkle with pecans if using. Serve the fruit salad on its own or with whipped cream, crème fraîche, vanilla sauce, or vanilla ice cream if desired.

* If you want to make the fruit salad ahead of time, toss the cut apple and pears with a tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice before adding them to the rest of the salad to prevent those fruits from turning brown. Store the salad, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to 8 hours. If you are planning to include the pecans, wait and sprinkle those over the top just before serving.

This article originally appeared in the December 2023 issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE.

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Kristi Bissell

Kristi Bissell is the founder of True North Kitchen, a Nordic food blog designed for the American home cook. She enjoys creating recipes that celebrate her Scandinavian heritage and that approach traditional Nordic ingredients in a modern, fresh and approachable way. Kristi is a native of Minneapolis and currently resides in Omaha, Neb. When she’s not cooking and baking in her cozy kitchen, Kristi teaches private and corporate yoga classes and leads Scandinavian cooking and baking workshops. For more information, visit her blog, www.true-north-kitchen.com.