Today we celebrate a mixture of fruit that comes in a can. May 13 is National Fruit Cocktail Day!
Fruit cocktail was invented as a way to use up scraps of fruit that were too bruised or damaged to be used in other cans of fruit. So basically, you’re getting the rejects when you pop open a can of fruit cocktail. The exact origin is unknown; fruit salads had been popular since 1893, and contained cherries and other dried fruits. A cookbook from 1902 explains where the name was derived: In these latter days, many American cooks make a mixture of fruit, sugar and alcohol and serve them as ‘salad.’ These are not salads … they are heavy, rather unwholesome, and will never take the place of a salad. I prefer to call them fruit cocktails and serve them as a first course at a luncheon or a twelve o’clock breakfast. The author, Mrs. Rorer, is now regarded as America’s first Food Snob. In 1930 San Jose canner Herbert Gray of Barron-Gray Packing Company began selling fruit cocktail, which grew in popularity over the years. To be labeled an official fruit cocktail by the USDA, it must contain pears, grapes, cherries, peaches, and pineapples. Most are packed in either heavy syrup or a lighter, less sugary mixture.
Tara and I bought a can of fruit cocktail to enjoy as a healthy (?) dessert after dinner. Sure enough, it contained the five requisite ingredients to properly be labeled a fruit cocktail!
- National Fruit Cocktail Day (fox2now.com)