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The Rules of Combining Fresh Fruit

I love to eat fruits, but my mom likes to mix all sorts of them into fruit salads. Her latest concoction consisted of fuyu persimmons, apples, oranges, and watermelon. The flavors were altered, and it tasted funny! What went wrong?

I searched the internet, and all I found were rules about not putting together certain types (acid, sub-acid, sweet, melons) because of digestive reasons. What about no-nos to prevent funky flavors? I would really appreciate any insight on this dilemma. Thanks!

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  1. There are _no_ rules.
    Experiment. and discover what you like.
    You mom actually has the right idea.

    1. If there were such rules then Jamba Juice would be put out of business.

      1. rules? no. mix and match to your heart's content

        1. My guess is one of the fruits was off.

          1. No rules, but a little common sense and understanding of flavors and textures helps whenever you want to improvise. To me, crunchy apples don't mix with squishy oranges and - although I love fuyu persimmon, it is a bit on the mushy/slimy side. I think the flavors in your mother's salad do not compliment one another and may even clash. Certain combinations work well, others do not.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Just Visiting

              I think textures are very important in combining fresh fruit in a salad. I couldn't agree more with your illustration of crunch and squishy. A bumpy fresh fruit salad actually bothers my mouth and I won't eat it. I'm not suggesting every food needs to be mushy...but definately consider the texture and cut size of each fruit....then, the choices are easy.

            2. Agree that there are no rules but I personally find watermelon too juicy to stand up well in a salad like you described. Unlike JustVisiting, I do like apple and orange together. You're going to have to experiment to find combinations that please you.

              1. I'm right there on the apples, oranges, and watermelon (not a terribly common combination, just because it's a bit of a challenge to find all three at the same time!) -- but the persimmons would set me on my heels --

                Do you eat the persimmons on their own? Persimmons can be unpleasantly tannic, which could throw the flavors of an otherwise-sweet combination.

                4 Replies
                1. re: sunshine842

                  Fuyu persimmons aren't tannic like hashiyas are. They have a tough edible skin (yummy fiber) that is never astringent, and a very sweet interior that is best eaten while still crunchy. I'm guessing the other fruits overpowered the fuyus, since they are so mild tasting.

                  I hate hashiyas unless they are super ripe and all that skin is totally removed. My husband bought some the other day that were vile. Thought I'd been poisoned my tongue was so numb.

                  1. re: Isolda

                    thanks for the clarification -- the first and only time I ever ate a persimmon, I bought one at the supermarket, and inadvertently bought one that was a little underripe.

                    I keep telling myself I need to try them again, but it's hard when you remember the feeling like your mouth had suddenly dehydrated and turned to cotton.

                    1. re: sunshine842

                      I understand, we used to have a few persimmon trees and I too, learned the hard way. now I like them but think they're too sweet (when ripe, duh)

                    2. re: Isolda

                      Please be aware of "phytobezoars" when eating persimmons.

                  2. I still stand my no rules but prefer to not mix bananas with other fruits as it always seems to dominate the flavor.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                      Yes, bananas stand alone. Unless they stand in chocolate.

                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                        Oh, I think bananas work really well with kiwi, strawberries and pineapple. Any combination of the 4 work for me.

                      2. Thanks for your advice everyone! I understand that part of cooking is experimenting, but the taste of the fruit salad was certainly off.

                        I love fuyu persimmons on their own, and these were more on the crunchy side making it less tannic. I think Just Visiting might be referring to hachiya persimmons (or overripe fuyus), which are too mushy for me. I found recipes for persimmons with oranges or apples, so it was probably the watermelon like tcamp suggested. The texture of crunchy fuyus and apples are the same, so that combination makes sense to me.

                        1. Fruit that is in season together seem to go together. Begs to ask how she had watermelon? Persimmon, apple, orange, ok.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: pdxgastro

                            We're in California, so a lot of fruit is available year-round although it may not be the cream of the crop. I don't know if the watermelon was domestic or imported.

                          2. I like to keep to the same general climate range, along with the same season. To my taste, apples and pears (Northern) do not mix with pineapples and papayas (Tropic). Bananas do not go with raspberries. Etc.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Sharuf

                              you're denying yourself the loveliness that is bananas and strawberries?

                            2. there is one rule. bananas and oranges do not mix. (ok that's my rule)

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: hill food

                                really? That's a favorite smoothie combination Chez Sunshine.

                                1. re: sunshine842

                                  ecch add an egg and start an Orange Julius stand at the mall. sorry, no offense, but no thanks.

                                  1. re: hill food

                                    but then, I was an Orange Julius freak...are they even still around? I see they still have a website, but I haven't seen a stand in decades.

                                2. re: hill food

                                  I cannot get on board with that rule either. Bananas, oranges, and apples are the backbone of my fruit salad!!

                                  Perhaps the rules are highly personal?

                                  1. re: tcamp

                                    they are most definitely highly personal rules. my issue is that the apples and banana turn brown (since the maker didn't think to salt or sprinkle lemon juice) and then there's no way to pick out what one wants.

                                    s842 - I think I saw an OJ stand in the DC or Balto area about 10 years ago, in a mall I never (almost never) went to...

                                3. And the longer fresh fruit salads sit the funkier they can become.

                                  I tend to use a large platter and set cut up fruit side by side rather than toss in a bowl. This way if you don't care for pineapple but like kiwi you can enjoy what you like. Fruits breakdown, brown (as mentioned) and perfume differently and at diff rates. Pears can be the first to go "off" color and flavor.

                                  So to get around it my only rule is: if you aren't making a single portion and you're not sure how the combinations will work make a platter inside of a bowl of fresh fruit.