National Fruit Cocktail Day Date in the current year: May 13, 2024

National Fruit Cocktail Day May 13 is a perfect day to finish off your meal with some delicious and vitamin-laden fruit because it is National Fruit Cocktail Day. This amazing holiday celebrates an appetizer/dessert that is very easy to make and extremely enjoyable.

The term fruit cocktail is primarily used in the United States to describe a type of fruit salad that consists of finely chopped fruit and is usually served as an appetizer. The word “cocktail” in the name of the dish doesn’t mean that it contains alcohol; it simply indicates that it is a mixture of various ingredients.

The main difference between fruit cocktail and “regular” fruit salad is that fruit cocktail is finely diced whereas other types of fruit salad may contain larger pieces of fruit. Fruit cocktail is often sold canned, but it can also be made fresh; it is often served at cafeterias.

Fruit cocktail originated in the early 20th century. The person credited with its invention is American food scientist William Vere Cruess. During his years working at the University of California, Berkeley, Cruess pioneered the use of fruits to produce syrups, fruit-based concentrates and fruit-juice beverages, established the technology of fruit dehydration, and came up with the fruit mix that would become known as fruit salad.

Food companies saw fruit cocktail as a great way to utilize healthy but cosmetically damaged fruit, such as bruised pears and peaches, which could not be sold whole or as halves. The first company to produce canned fruit salad was the Barron-Gray Packing Company in San Jose, California. It began to sell fruit cocktail commercially in 1930. Eight years later, California Packing Corporation started to sell its version of canned fruit cocktail under its Del Monte brand.

In the United States, canned fruit cocktail is subject to USDA regulations. According to these regulations, a canned fruit salad must contain peaches, pears, pineapples, grapes and cherries in certain proportions to be marketed as fruit cocktail:

  • 30% to 50% peaches, diced
  • 25% to 45% pears, diced
  • 6% to 16% pineapple, diced
  • 6% to 20% seedless grapes, whole
  • 2% to 6% sweet cherries, halved

Of course, you don’t have to follow the USDA’s guidelines when making fresh fruit cocktail at home. You can choose any fruit you want, just dice them small enough for the dish to qualify as fruit cocktail. Popular ingredients used in homemade fruit cocktails include apples, strawberries, kiwifruit, watermelon, mandarin orange, bananas, blueberries, and pomegranate seeds.

The origins of National Fruit Cocktail Day are unclear, but don’t let this stop your from celebrating this amazing food holiday. You can open a can of fruit cocktail or make some fresh fruit cocktail at home. Don’t be afraid to experiment with fruit combinations to create the perfect recipe! Other ways to celebrate include throwing a fruit-themed party for your friends and family and spreading the word about the holiday on social media with the hashtags #NationalFruitCocktailDay and #FruitCocktailDay.

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