The term fruit cocktail conjures up childhood memories of finding a sweet surprise at the bottom of your sack lunch, but there’s so much more to this spring and summer food favorite. From its origins as a heavy, purely unwholesome aperitif of the American south to the trendy summer salads we see today, this confectionary concoction has rightfully earned a day of celebration. Mark your calendars for May 13, and join us for National Fruit Cocktail Day!
National Fruit Cocktail Day timeline
California-based cannery J.C. Ainsley begins marketing a canned ‘fruit salad’ under the Golden Morn label.
Herbert Gray is popularly credited with the creation of the fruit cocktail.
Fruit cocktail is one of the most popular canned products of the Del Monte production plant.
In an article titled ‘100 Years of Canning in the West,’ Herbert Gray is named as the inventor of the fruit cocktail in 1930.
National Fruit Cocktail Day Activities
Create your own
For an uncanny way to celebrate, let your creative juices run wild and make your own fruit cocktail. For the adventurous, there’s little harm in buying a mix of your favorite fruits and combining them together with the sauce of your choice to see what happens. Who knows, the next Del Monte recipe could come from your own kitchen.
Take this portable treat on the road
With summer just around the corner and temperatures heating up, pack a fruit cocktail to go. Grab a few friends and enjoy the outdoors with a delicious and healthy treat in hand. What better way to celebrate spring than with a picnic in the park?
Put the cocktail back in fruit cocktail
Creating an adult beverage out of a kid’s lunchtime classic is a quick way to add flare to your late-spring party. A dessert wine like port, a low-alcohol liqueur, or even brandy add a great firewater touch to fruit cocktail’s cool, sweet nectar.
Why We Love National Fruit Cocktail Day
It’s healthy (most of the time)
You can feel good about throwing back a serving or three of fruit cocktail. Even pre-made canned varieties pack a punch of vitamin C, and often, contain even more of the immunity-boosting antioxidant than fresh fruit. Be careful, though. This salubrious snack can turn against you quick - in the form of sugars and calories — if it’s canned in heavy syrup.
It’s an American pastime
The fruit cocktail as we know it can be traced back to the earliest days of industrial canning in America. America’s fruit producers found a way to delight the public, while at the same time selling damaged fruit that would have otherwise been unmarketable. Thanks, American ingenuity!
Whether you’re buying your favorite brand off the shelves or making it yourself, fruit cocktail is a fast fix. And if you’re going for aesthetics, what’s an easier way to jazz up a table than with a cornucopia of colors and a dollop of cream?
National Fruit Cocktail Day dates