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Making a fruit and cheese tray

I am making two large fruit and cheese trays for my brother's wedding. I would like to put the tray together a day ahead of time. Are there any fruits that should be avoided that would not tolerate the day ahead prep because either too wet or would dry out?

Anything else I need to think about?

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  1. Bonnie, what kind of climate are we talking about?
    If you want to play it safe, use two or three kinds of grapes (black, red, white or green), dried figs and stuffed dates.

    1. Like what kind of fresh fruits will I have access to? I was planning for grapes, pineapple, melon (Fresh Market always has it), possibly strawberries (but I wouldn't imagine them having much flavor in March).

      I really like the idea of fried fruits...

      10 Replies
      1. re: Bonniexx

        Hi Bonnie,

        That too, absolutely, re. what's available, good, and affordable, but I meant where is the wedding going to be held (hot climate, cold climate, etc)

        1. re: Bonniexx

          melon is utterly flavorless this time of year, so will be a waste of money. grapes, pineapple and kiwi offer decent bang for the buck and color. you might also be able to get decent blackberries.

          dried fruit will work nicely too. apricots, plums, mango.

          1. re: hotoynoodle

            I wonder if the store would frown on me tasting a berry to see if they are good :)

            Thanks so much for the feedback. I took melon off my list. I was hesitant about it anyway and added kiwi.

            1. re: hotoynoodle

              Any staining possibilities with blackberries?

              1. re: sr44

                I always include blackberries in my fruit platter. If you don't drench them in water when washing them and if you dry them off until they are dry they should not leech into the other fruits. If they are too ripe upon purchase they can get mushy however. The company that makes bouquets here out of fruit use some very firm fruits, justly slightly underriped.

            2. re: Bonniexx

              I would include apples too... apples and cheese are great together.

              1. re: juliejulez

                Oooh, yes. Granny smiths with maytag :)

                To keep them from browning, is there anything that can be applied to them that is a little more neutral tasting than lemon juice?

                1. re: Bonniexx

                  I don't, until now. I googled and came up with this... looks like there's a few ideas... including using water with some lemon in it, and using sprite or 7-up. http://www.theyummylife.com/prevent_a...

                  1. re: juliejulez

                    I found that exact page :)

                    I will have to experiment before the time with these. Thanks for the link!

                    1. re: Bonniexx

                      I've used Sierra Mist before, and at the 5 min mark, my apples tasted like soda, BUT I also cut my apples thinner than those apple cutter/corer combo things. My dad used to buy Vit C pills from the pharmacy and crushed them to fine powder. I think he mixed with water and soaked apples, but guacamole he just mixed in the powder. I don't know exact quantities anymore, but it worked and was flavorless.

            3. I am in KY so the weather outside is chilly and rainy but it will be held indoors. The food will be prepared in a commercial kitchen so I have large refrigerators in which to store the trays.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Bonniexx

                I'd avoid the apples and do things like persimmons to pair with the cheese. In fact if you were doing tropical fruit, I would do a fruit specific tray. And a fruit and cheese tray with more "traditional" pairings of grapes and dried fruit. I haven't heard of any pairings that do tropical fruit with cheese and I think something like a pineapple would either overwhelm or fight with the cheese.

                1. re: Dcfoodblog

                  That's a very good point about tropicals. Thank you for sharing.

              2. A tray with both fresh & dried fruits would be great but because fruits like pineapple, melons and even strawberries leach their juices, I would not put it together until the day of the wedding. I would, however, cut up the cheeses and bag them up. I would also add apple slices because it's the season for it; you can use Fruit Fresh or similar to keep it from browning, but again, cut it up the day of the event.

                Monterey Jack and/or Pepperjack cheeses pair nicely with dried mango, fresh pineapple, apples, and other fruits.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Cherylptw

                  Any particular variety of apples? I think I've settled on apples, pears, and grapes since those are all readily available and flavorful. I am planning on slicing the fruit in thin pieces to match the slices of the cheese so they can be added to a cracker.

                  1. re: Bonniexx

                    Best for eating out of hand: Gala, Fuji, Mutsu, Jonathan, Cameo, Golden Delicious, Cortland, Empire, Red Delicious, McIntosh, Braeburn, Winesap, Pink Lady, Sundowner.

                    For variety, add a few Granny Smith for tartness

                2. Fresh pears are popular with cheese and need to be treated like apples.

                  For dried fruit, I would order from www.apricotking.com. I buy from them regularly. Their fruit is premium, large, and moist (the pears and large Blenheim apricots are out of this world). The price is not all that much more than supermarket and they are having a discount on shipping this week. For something special like a wedding, worth paying a bit extra.

                  Costco carries large bags of Sunkist prunes which are very moist and as good as Apricotking's prunes.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: greygarious

                    Thanks for the page recommendation.

                  2. I'd make the cheese tray ahead of time, but the fruit is going to get funky on you no matter what you use (aside of fruits served whole like strawberries and grapes - and even the strawberries go mushy after being washed)

                    1. I make a fruit platter every other Sunday for a church buffet. You can use berries you must make sure that they are dried off completely after washing before putting them on a tray. If using melons they must be underripe. Any fruit you put on the tray must be dried off. I use melons, berries, kiwis, pineapple, and cherries. I make this up a day before and it lasts well over 2-3 days.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: Ruthie789

                        How much cheese do you use? I am making two 20" trays for 120 people (among other dishes).

                        1. re: Bonniexx

                          depending on how much other food? 2-4 oz. per person.

                          1. re: hotoynoodle

                            It's a daytime wedding with finger foods. I'm planning 9 different dishes including the fruit/cheese tray. The cheeses will be a hunk of maytag, slices of smoked gouda, muenster, and fontina, and a round of camembert. I'll arrange the slices with the fruit and have the maytag and camenbert by itself with crackers... I think.

                            1. re: Bonniexx

                              Love the idea that you are going "seasonal". Along with those cheeses I see pears, apples, and nuts. Perhaps some grapes. (I just finished breakfast and now I'm hungry again!)

                              1. re: pedalfaster

                                Those were my exact choices from the help this board has given! Not sure what kind of pear... I eat a lot more apples so I have an idea on what kind I want there. Others have also mentioned dried fruit but I will have to see what the store has when I go.

                                I think there are usually Bosc and Bartlett pears available. Sometimes Asian...

                                I'm not a huge fan of nuts so I wouldn't know what kind to use there either... suggestions?

                                1. re: Bonniexx

                                  Bosc pears are not as juicy as Bartlett, D'Anjou, or Asian, which is a plus for slices to be eaten out of hand. You don't want juice running down people's wrists.

                                  Different varieties of pear and apple discolor/get soft at different rates. Your project merits advance testing. Buy 1 of each type of available apple and pear, and a bunch of paper plates. Label three plates for each of the pieces of fruit. Slice the fruit. Sample each one and make a note of its character. For example, if one particular apple is mealy you want to know that so you don't blame it on the prep. Leave a couple of untreated slices on one of each variety's plate and cover with plastic wrap. Dip a couple of slices of each in Sprite, others in Vit C or whatever other anti-oxidants you are considering. Store them all, plastic-wrapped, in the fridge overnight, then inspect and taste the next day. It would be good to have one or more partners in this experiment since opinions may vary.

                              2. re: Bonniexx

                                A like a brown bread with nuts in it for the cheeses myself. The camembert will go go go. Each time it is on our table it is gobbled up.
                                As well I do agree about the tropical fruit with the cheese but the fruit tray could appeal to those with a sweet tooth as well so I would include it or as someone mentionned do a separate tray for the tropical fruits.

                        2. I would follow an Ina garten lead....if you google her cheese tray you will find some beautiful examples.
                          Two to three cheeses with some grapes and maybe strawberries ( I have already had good ones here in SC but as a Ky girl I know that may be more difficult) , some beautiful crackers. Very simple and elegant . If you want more fruit do a separate platter.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: LaLa

                            Thanks for the lead. Hers are very nice. I'm not sure how to translate that into a 100 person reception though.