With the warmer weather that has arrived here in a most unseasonal way, I have lighter foods on my mind. I always eat less when it gets warm, and the last two days of 77 degrees has motivated me to eat lighter and lighter. Yet, it is still winter! And as we know, winter is citrus season. Besides my love of blood oranges, I can’t get enough of those tiny, oh-so-super-sweet Clementines. These little darlings are best if you can find Spanish Clementines. They are so much sweeter than those produced in California . . . absolutely no comparison! NOTE: I bought them from Whole Foods and they were in a little distinctive wooden crate. My mother bought a little bag of them from Wal-Mart and they were completely tasteless! So BUYER BEWARE! But they are here in the States for only about another month at the very most, so grab them in the market if you can find them.
Clementine’s are the tiniest of oranges, a cross between an orange and a mandarin, and they are usually seedless. They are not mandarins, nor are they tangerines . . . yet they have a most notable sweet taste, lending them to be extraordinary to eat straight out of your hand! In fact, it’s difficult to just eat one, even two or three without stopping! Clementines arrived in the U.S. only recently in the 1980′s, but as demand and popularity has increased, they have become more expensive as well. Don’t let them get old or you’ll throw some good money down the drain! Look for shiny, firm skins with no feeling of airiness between the skin and flesh. The size of a small Spanish Clementine should fit inside the palm of your hand, unlike a regular orange which fits inside your whole palm and fingers.
With more fresh and light food in mind and with sweet Clementines now briefly available, I put this fruit salad together with bright red and orange citrus as the highlights. I also added bananas and apples for balance, and finally, blueberries for color (all those healthy antioxidants you know, really enhance all of the Vitamin C).
This is such a simple fruit salad to put together. At the last minute for Christmas Eve, I whipped this salad together (without Clementines because I couldn’t find them at the time) for something lighter than the heavier holiday dishes that we always enjoy . . . and often have regrets later for overeating! Everyone, seriously, everyone in the family was surprised, thrilled, and grateful to see something healthier, fresh, and non-cooked/baked on the table. The fruit salad was devoured instantly. My daughter even commented, “Let’s make a fruit salad every year from now on.” Now that’s a great endorsement for this salad’s repeat performance!
Red Citrus Fruit Salad with Fresh Sweet Clementines
4 clementines (from Spain if possible), peeled, with pith and membranes removed
1 blood orange, peeled, with pith and membranes removed
1 ruby red grapefruit, peeled, with pith and membranes removed
1/4′ fresh pineapple, peeled, cored, cut into chunks
1 red apple (I used Braeburn), peel left on, sliced and cut into chunks
8 fresh strawberries, stems removed, cut into halves
1 banana, sliced
1 cup fresh blueberries
Add all of the fruits together and toss with 1/2 cup sugar or 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup of white sugar.
This will form a light coating of sweetness.
Adjust sugar level to your desired level of sweetness.
(I do use sugar replacement (Splenda) instead of sugar, so you might want to make two separate bowls of fruit for those guests/family who want the real sugar deal and one for those who are counting calories and carbs!)
If you are preparing this salad ahead of time, do not cut up the bananas and/or apples until just before serving to prevent them from discoloring.
Add bananas and apples at the very last minute.
One last note: Adjust all of the fruit to your preference levels. If you like more bananas, add them. If you like more Clementines, than add those, etc. Make it YOUR salad to enjoy!