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Fruit platters, Fruit salads and Watermelon boats

Beautiful and very popular. Be kind to your guests and remove seeds from watermelon. If you don't have much time, go with other melon balls. Cut grapes into small bunches of 3-4 grapes with scissors; a picked over stem is so unfestive.

The selection of fruits is limited by the season and also by the preparation time available. If time is short, select just three fruits for a fruit platter. Berries- all kinds- can only be rinsed right when they are served. Other fruits can be cut and sliced the day/night before. Bananas are best left out of fruit salads, as they get "slickery".

Once cut, rinse white fruits in an acid liquid such as orange or pieapple juice or lemonade to reduce browning. Fresh fruit chunks can be stored in individual, air tight containers or plastic food storage bags, then refrigerated. Frozen fruits are best if still very cold and should be tranferred to the refigerator the night before to partially thaw.

Mix or arrange fruit for serving early on the day of the party, adding berries right before serving. Cover tightly with plastic wrap- if in a bowl, press a second layer of plastic wrap onto the surface before sealing- and refrigerate until serving time.

Pineapple Fruit Platter Recipe for 25

This attractive arrangement of fresh fruit fills a large (20+ inch) tray, especially if you leave the top on the pineapple! With a large knife, split a ripe pineapple lengthwise into fourths from base through green top. Remove core and loosen pineapple from shell using a grapefruit or paring knife. Slice each quarter into 5 triangular shape wedges; cut down center to make 10 wedges leaving them in place in shell. Place a decorated cocktail pick in each chunk. Peel and cut melons into chunks. Snip grapes into clusters. Leave strawberries whole, stems on, do rinse and drain them at the time you serve! Arrange fruit in interesting design on large platter.

Ellen's Kitchen Fresh Fruit Purchase for Pineapple Platter for 25
Fruit purchasedApproximate Yield
1 (3-4 lb.) pineapple 40 triangular shape chunks
1 (4 lb.) cantaloupe 36 chunks
1 (2 lb.) honeydew 36 chunks
1 (4-5 lb.) watermelon piece 48 chunks
1 lb. seedless green grapes 12-15 clusters
1 lb. seedless red grapes 12-15 clusters
1 lb. strawberries 20-25 large berries
yogurt or poppyseed
dressing or dip
3 cups
1 box fancy toothpicks
1 large 20 inch tray

Fruit Salads and Watermelon Bowls

Fruit salads don't keep as well as fruit trays, require more service (bowls, forks/spoons) and the leftovers are less usable, so tyhink about a tray as an option.

Allow 1/2 cup prepared fruit per person for receptions and teas.
Allow 3/4 cup per person for buffet meals or self service.
When estimating fruit needed, remember that self-service always uses more. For self serve, "12 servings" usually serves about 10 people.

Serving size 12 servings 25 servings 50 servings 100 servings
1/2 cup serving
prepared fruit
6 cups 13 cups 25 cups 50 cups
3/4 cup serving
prepared fruit
9 cups 19 cups 38 cups 75 cups

You can limit the amount of fruit salad served by preparing individual servings into 6 or 8 ounce plastic cups or bowls, or by having someone serve the fruit.

For buffet table service, you could serve informally from a watermelon boat (instructions on this page). Use a glass or crystal bowl for more formal occasions.

Select a variety of fruits with different colors and textures. Clear fragile fruit such as berries crush easily and must be prepped the day of serving; use these fruits near top of bowl and as garnish.

Prepare total fruit needed; refrigerate. Fill serving container only enough for 1 hour. Replenish serving container at least hourly or more often as needed.

Ellen's Kitchen Individual Fruits Needed for 100
cantaloupe50 melons
1/2 melon per serving
25 melons
1/4 melon per serving
honeydew, large/jumbo13 melons
1/8 melon per serving
PLUS 20-25 limes for wedges
honeydew, small25 melons
1/4 melon per serving
PLUS 20-25 limes for wedges
grapes24 to 30 pounds
watermelon76 to 100 pounds
frozen fruit for small fruit garnish
cut up
24 pounds

A note about Melons
All melons should be washed before cutting. During the growing and shipping they are exposed to molds, fertilizers, pesticides and dirt. Protect those you serve by taking time to clean them properly before cutting.
Cantaloupe and other rough-skinned melons should be scrubbed with a vegetable brush. Then put them through a disinfectant rinse (1 tablespoon plain chlorine bleach per quart of water) and two clear rinses before cutting.

Ellen's Kitchen Fresh Fruit Purchasing Guide For Trays, Platters and Salads

  • This is a simple selection, moderate amounts. You need 5-6 pieces of fruit per person, so for 100 people, you want 500 pieces selected and combined from the list below.
  • Watermelon served alone for dessert, as for a BBQ or beach party, you want 1 pound whole per person.
  • If you need to control serving size, you MUST cut or portion out fruit before allowing people to help themselves. For example, split whole oranges or apples into wedges or halves. For fruit salad, use small clear plastic beverage cups or bowls, served by a server at the buffet table or arranged and refrigerated, then placed on pretty trays. You can cover the whole tray with saran wrap or cover each dish.
  • To serve a fruit salad ala mode for 100 people requires 4-5 half gallons sherbet or ice cream, using a half cup scoop.
Fresh fruit as purchased Approximate Yield
1 (18 1/2 lb.) watermelon 16 cups makes about 180 pieces
1 (4 lb.) pineapple 5 cups makes about 40 pieces
1 (3 lb.) honeydew or cantaloupe 4 cups makes about 36 pieces
1 pound strawberries 4 cups makes about 25 berries
1 pound Tokay grapes 3 cups or about 12 small bunches
1 pound green grapes 2 cups or about 8 small bunches
1 pint blueberries or raspberries 2 cups
1 (3 oz.) kiwi fruit 1/2 cup or makes 10-12 (1/8") slices
Frozen fruits
ready to eat
1 bag makes about 3 cups

Generous portions, 5-6 big trays

For appetizers, it will serve about twice as many.
Fruit purchasedApproximate Yield
3-4 (3-4 lb.) pineapple 160 triangular shape chunks
2-3 (4 lb. total) cantaloupe 100 chunks
2 (2 lb. total) honeydew 70 chunks
1 watermelon 100- 200 chunks
3-4 lb. seedless green grapes 40-50 clusters
3-4 lb. seedless red grapes 40-50 clusters
4-5 lb. strawberries 100 large berries
8 Oranges, skin on, cut into wedges, OPTIONALabout 50 pieces
4 Pink Grapefruit, cut into wedges
OR 5 pounds apples, pears or bananas,
treated with Fruit Fresh after cutting to prevent browning., OPTIONAL
about 50 pieces
3 pints Blueberriesabout 1 tablespoon per person
3 pints Raspberriesabout 1 tablespoon per person
3 pints Blackberriesabout 1 tablespoon per person
6 Kiwi (peeled and sliced into rounds)about 25 pieces
4 Papayas, peeled, seeded and cut into wedges, OPTIONALabout 50 pieces
6 Mangoes, peeled, seeded and cut into pieces, OPTIONALabout 50 pieces
yogurt or poppy seed dressing or dip 2-3 quarts
4 Pomegranates opened and seeds used for garnish
12 limes in wedges to garnish trays
1 bunch of leaf lettuce or kale for garnish
2 boxes fancy toothpicks
3-4 large 20 inch trays

How To Prepare a Watermelon Boat

Bowl shell can be done ahead; wrap empty in plastic wrap and refrigerate. Fill with fruit salad just before serving.

To make the bowl: If not stable on the table, trim a thin slice from bottom of melon so it will rest flat. Using a cardboard guide of a 1 1/2" scallop, draw scallop design about 1/3 of the way down from top of melon. Cut out scallops with paring knife; remove top section. Scoop out the melon by cutting into balls or wedges, leaving shell 1" thick and taking care NOT to puncture the shell. Press plastic wrap to the cut surfaces and refrigerate the bowl and lid. Remove seeds from the scooped out melon, chunk into serving size pieces or melon balls and refrigerate in air yight baggies or containers (baggies will fit inside the wraped bowl).

Handling Leftovers

If this is a fundraising event, purchase to go cups and lids ahead of time, so you can sell by the pint or quart. Anything that has been on the service table must be used within 24 hours. Any that was still refrigerated (never served), may be kept chilled and eaten until soft or fermented. DO NOT refreeze thawed frozen fruits; you CAN bake appropriate ehawed fruits into cobblers or pies and freeze those.

Some Fruit and Jello Salad Recipes for 100

Spicy Melon Balls

About 72 pieces, or 8 (1/2-melon) full servings

4 2-pound (8 pounds) cantaloupes
1/4 teaspoon szechuan pepper corns
1/4 teaspoon pink pepper corns
1/4 teaspoon white pepper corns
1/4 teaspoon black pepper corns
1/4 teaspoon whole allspice
Mint sprigs for garnish

Combine all the spices in a spice grinder or mortar and grind them fine.

For appetizer bites, chunk the peeled melon into bite-size pieces. For individual servings, use a melon baller to make balls, saving the emptied skins/shells to serve the balls.

Sprinkle the pieces or balls with about 1 teaspoon of the spice mix. For individual servings, return to the shells.

Garnish with mint sprigs to serve.


A Winter Fruit Salad

serves 100

Refrigerate 4-8 hours to blend flavors before adding bananas, does NOT keep overnight.

40 red apples, such as Jonathan or Gala, cored and diced
40 green Bartlett or Anjou pears, cored and diced
5 quarts (6+ pounds) fresh strawberries, stems removed, sliced
2 quarts fresh orange juice
1 quart fresh lemon juice
OPTIONAL, 1 1/4 cup orange-flavored liqueur or peach schnapps
Optional, sugar or substitute, to taste
20 bananas, sliced

Chunk up the apples and pears straight into the combined orange and lemon juice with optional liqueur. Add sugar or substitute, if using. Gently mix. Stir in the strawberries. Store in large zippered plastic bags or cover bowl and refrigerate 4 to 8 hours, but no longer. Just before serving, stir in banana slices.


Simple Citrus Winter Fruit Salad

about 100 1/2 cup servings or 65 3/4 cup servings

2 tablespoons almond or vanilla extract
OR 1 cup orange or almond liqueur
One and one-half dozen large grapefruit
OR 2 dozen smaller
8 No. 2 cans shredded pineapple packed in juice
OR 1 #10 can
8 pounds seedless grapes
2 dozen oranges
OPTIONAL, sugar or sweetener to taste
1 dozen bananas
2 cups toasted sliced almonds for garnish

Mix the pineapple, juice and extract or liqueur. Section out the grapefruits into the pan containing the pineapple and juice, avoiding all the peel and membranes. Wash and separate the grapes. Section the oranges or peel and slice into circles. Stir oranges and grapes gently into the mixture.
Store fruit mixture in large zippered plastic bags or covered bowl. Refrigerate 4 to 8 hours, or overnight to blend flavors. Just before serving, stir in banana slices, refrigerate.
Best served in bowls. Does not keep well once the bananas go in.


Day Before Tangy Jello Fruit Salad with variations

96 servings, 6 9x13 pans cut 3x6 pieces each or about 3 gallons
Waldorf style

16 packages lemon Jello
7 1/2 quarts hot water
1 1/2 cup vinegar
3 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 quarts tart apples, chopped
6 cups walnut pieces
2 quarts celery, chopped fine
3 quarts mayonaisse or whipped topping for garnish

Dissolve Jell-O in hot water, add vinegar and salt. Chill until slightly thickened, about 2 hours. Then fold in apples, chopped walnuts and celery. Pour in pans and chill until firm. Serve with mayonnaise dressing.

Cherry Jubilee: cherry jello, substitute drained tart cheries for apples, use pecans instead of walnuts. In the South, flat Coca Cola is substituted for part of the water.
Creamy lime: Use lime jello, 6 1/2 quarts water, omit vinegar. Beat in 2 quarts of small curd creamed cottage cheese and chill until slightly thickened. Then substitute drained crushed canned pineapple for apples, pecans for walnuts.