Fruit Salad

As we continue our feature of salads and since peaches, nectarines and apriums arrived this week just in time for Memorial Day, we take this opportunity to tell you about a fruit salad that is very special. Developed for a big crowd event, I have adapted this recipe slightly since the first time I served it. By using Cocojune coconut yogurt, I feel confident serving it even when it has sat out of the refrigerator for a few hours. Perfect for a buffet or pot luck with the only difficulty deciding if it goes on the salad table or the dessert table. 

Stone fruit season starts for us at Kashiwase Farms in Winton near the foothills of Mt Diablo. I have known Lisa Kashiwase for years and we travel to the Berkeley and Marin Farmers Markets three times a week to bring this outstanding, drip-down-your-chin fruit to Petaluma. Their full organic certification and three generations on the same land help these hard working farmers earn a space on our tables. I hope you try the recipe or at least, inspire you to work out one of your own! 

Stone Fruit Salad

Makes 2 quarts (enough for 8-10 servings)
2 yellow peaches peeled and sliced
2 white peaches peeled and sliced
4 pixie tangerines peeled and segmented (feel free to substitute if citrus is unavailable)
½ lime or lemon -juiced
1 pint cherries pits removed (or grapes)
1 pint strawberries leave small berries whole and cut the large fruit in half
½ pint blueberries
2 mint sprigs
2 tablespoons sweet vinegar (Pedro Jimenez Sweet or Chardonnay Vinegar)
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (use any type of yogurt for dietary considerations, Cocojune is a fabulous non-dairy product)
½ cup walnuts (optional)
The peaches (or nectarines) and cherries are the cornerstone of this salad, a bit of tedious prep is involved to remove the pits but once you try this you will agree it is worth the effort. Otherwise, the fruit is interchangeable based on season, if raspberries or grapes are available, you might choose to use in place of the tangerines, cherries, or strawberries. The combination here is a unique moment while the earliest stone fruit overlaps the latest of citrus seasons.
The layering of ingredients is important so the peaches don’t brown or turn red from the strawberry and cherry juice.
Add the sliced peaches and tangerines to a large mixing bowl. Squeeze the juice of ½ lime onto the fruit and mix to coat. This helps keep the slices their respective color and adds a little sourness to the already sweet fruit. Feel free to add the pixie segments. Let citric acid soak in for 10 minutes. Add the sweet vinegar. Set aside while you prep the cherries and strawberries.

In a second work bowl. Stone the cherries and add the strawberries and blueberries. In the time it takes me to prep the berries, the peaches will have had time to macerate in the lime juice and vinegar therefore retaining their color. 

Wash the prepped berries and drain, add to the peach/tangerine bowl and toss. Cut the mint by layering the leaves and cutting them into thin strips. Add the mint and toss again.
The yogurt and walnuts should be added just before serving. I like to use Greek yogurt because it is thicker and the juice from the fruit will be added moisture. Add a few dollops and mix in well with a rubber spatula.  You should feel free to use a non-dairy, goat, or yogurt for added dietary consideration. I have used crème fraiche or sour cream as an equally amazing substitute.  Garnish with a few smaller mint leaves and serve.