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24-Hour, Southern Fruit-Salad Recipe

Updated on November 30, 2017
DixieMockingbird profile image

Jan has been cooking and writing about food for over twenty years, and has cooked on multiple television stations, including Food Network.

Justify this incredible dish as a salad all you like —it's a Southern classic that everyone loves.
Justify this incredible dish as a salad all you like —it's a Southern classic that everyone loves.

Look, this stuff is delicious. It's sweet, loaded with fruit, pecans, and marshmallows, and is the first dish to disappear every year during the holidays. It's just plain fabulous. There.

Now, I know good and well that this isn't a salad. It's really a dessert masquerading as a side dish, rather like sweet potato casserole. And that's fine with me. It comes from the Southern/Depression-era cooking tradition of working with canned foods to make something special for very little money, and this particular recipe is almost exactly the way my great-grandmother Frank made it. In the Appalachian South, this was a very special dish saved for special occasions, and that's what it has remained in our family.

I make this during the holidays, and it gives me a chance to talk about my mother and grandmother and the traditions in our family. My children didn't get to meet my grandmother, but they sure love her food!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups green grapes, cut in half
  • 1 can mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1 can crushed pineapple with juices
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 10 ounce package miniature marshmallows
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream

Directions

  1. Place grapes, mandarin oranges, and pineapple in a large mixing bowl. Drain the oranges but not the pineapple. Pick a bigger bowl than you think you need - it helps keep the ingredients contained as you mix.
  2. Add miniature marshmallows and powdered sugar and stir to combine.
  3. Chop the pecans and add to the mixing bowl. Add sour cream and stir to fully combine. Store in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours, and preferably 24 hours before serving. Stir just before serving.

Start with Grapes, Mandarin Oranges, and Pineapple

I like green grapes - I remember when my mother would buy them peeled and canned. I haven't seen those in years, so I just pick fresh grapes and cut them in half or quarters so they are roughly the same size.
I like green grapes - I remember when my mother would buy them peeled and canned. I haven't seen those in years, so I just pick fresh grapes and cut them in half or quarters so they are roughly the same size.

Powdered Sugar and Marshmallows

The reason this is really more a dessert than a salad - it falls in the traditional Southern category of sweetening everything. Add miniature marshmallows and powdered sugar.
The reason this is really more a dessert than a salad - it falls in the traditional Southern category of sweetening everything. Add miniature marshmallows and powdered sugar.

Stir in Chopped Pecans

I buy pecans in bulk, so I almost always have whole pecans. If you buy them at the grocery store, you can probably get pecan pieces for less, saving a bit of money.
I buy pecans in bulk, so I almost always have whole pecans. If you buy them at the grocery store, you can probably get pecan pieces for less, saving a bit of money.

Add Sour Cream

The final step is to stir in sour cream. For this batch I used about 1 1/2 cups. Then cover the salad and let it sit in the fridge overnight. This lets the marshmallows absorb the fruit juices - hence the name.
The final step is to stir in sour cream. For this batch I used about 1 1/2 cups. Then cover the salad and let it sit in the fridge overnight. This lets the marshmallows absorb the fruit juices - hence the name.

The Finished Product

The one dish my kids love most about the holidays - the only time of year I make this recipe. It goes fast when I do!
The one dish my kids love most about the holidays - the only time of year I make this recipe. It goes fast when I do!

© 2017 Jan Charles

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    • DixieMockingbird profile image
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      Jan Charles 2 weeks ago from East Tennessee

      It's a really old, Southern recipe Linda - and we're with you. Don't care at all about the salad part!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 2 weeks ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I've never heard of a side dish or dessert like this before. It sounds like a wonderful treat for a special occasion. I certainly don't mind that it's not really a salad!