Colorful and naturally sweet this fresh cut Fruit Salad For A Crowd makes a wonderful side dish at a party.
Easy Fruit Salad For A Crowd Recipe
A simple fruit salad is the perfect addition to the food table at a graduation party, family reunion, church gathering or big holiday party.
A variety of colors of ripe produce makes a healthy and eye appealing fruit salad for a crowd recipe. The highest priority is choosing the correct ripeness of fruit and blending what is available and what fits in the budget.
When shopping for the fruit salad in the pictures in early June, Strawberries, Red Grapes, Green Grapes, Pineapple, Blueberries, Blackberries and Kiwi were readily available one day before the graduation party.
I like to begin shopping at Costco, head to Sam’s Club next and then go to Kroger or another smaller store to pick up other fruit that may not have been at the bigger wholesaler retailers. Shopping one to two days ahead of time with a pretty empty refrigerator works best for me.
We made 100 cups of fruit to serve 200 people for a graduation party where a pizza truck, a couple other sides and cake were available. They estimate 300 guests attended and we had the perfect amount of fruit.
In this situation a lot of the guests were going to multiple grad parties and just grazing at each one. The fruit was also popular because the weather was warm and fruit is cool and refreshing!
How Much Fruit For 50 People?
We estimate a 1/2 cup of serving of fruit per person which means 25 cups of fruit for 50 people.
Keep in mind the size of the serving spoon will have a big impact on how much fruit people take.
Having someone serve equal portions to each guests will be much more consistent than allowing guests to serve themselves.
Fruit salad for 50 people will fit in two half size deep steam table pans that are 11 3/4″ x 9 3/8″ x 2 9/16″.
While these pans work well for storing, a fruit bowl is a more popular and more attractive for serving.
Just take care to gently scoop or pour the salad anytime the fruit is transferred from one location to the next.
How to Covert Pounds of Fruit to Cups
Knowing that we want to have half a cup per person available for a big crowd we did some testing and took a lot of measurements to determine what that translates to at the grocery store.
- Strawberries – A two pound package makes about 7 cups of bite size pieces.
- Grapes – A square box of grapes weighs about 3 pounds and medium to small size grapes will make 9 to 10 cups of grapes.
- Honeydew or Cantaloupe – usually weighs about 3 pounds and yields about 8 cups of small, bite size pieces.
- Pineapple – a whole pineapple makes around 6 cups of chopped fruit.
- Blackberries – 12 ounces is about 3 cups.
- Blueberries – 18 ounces is about 4 cups.
- Kiwi – 3 kiwis make about 1 cup when chopped.
Use the small scale at the grocery store to help determine how much fruit weighs and then use our notes above for a general idea on how to convert to 1/2 cup serving sizes.
How Much Fruit To Buy
Every party is different and the amount of fruit to estimate per person should be based on: what else is on the menu, how many items there will be to choose from, outside temperature, and guest demographics.
When there are fewer items on the menu fruit is much more popular. Keep in mind not everyone will eat fruit, but most people will.
A health conscious crowd is more likely to eat fruit than cake for dessert at a graduation party.
We do find that guests at a large breakfast are more likely to eat more fruit than at lunch or dinner.
Look at what else is on the menu. If there are more than 5 or 6 side dishes then amount of fruit eaten per person will decrease as the total amount of options increase.
Fruit To Cut Up The Day Before:
- Grapes can be rinsed, dried and removed from the stems for fruit salad or cut into small bunches to arrange on a Fruit Tray.
- Strawberries can be rinsed, stems cut out and chopped into bite size pieces.
- Cantaloupe is orange and provides more color for the fruit salad, but when unavailable green honeydew melon works great too. Wash the outside of the melon before cutting in half, slicing and chopping.
- Blueberries are hearty and hold up well when stirred gently. They can be rinsed and allowed to air dry the day before.
- Blackberries or Raspberries make a nice accent to the fruit salad when a few are sprinkled on top. Rinse and air dry a day before.
- Kiwi can be peeled and chopped the day before if it’s the perfect ripeness. If it is a bit past overripe then wait until the fruit salad is ready to serve to accent with kiwi. We could only find green grapes and green honeydew so I wish I would have gotten the yellow kiwi to add to this fruit salad.
Store all prepared fruit in the refrigerator before and after prepping to maximize shelf life.
Notes For Planning:
- Choose medium grapes instead of large grapes to best mix into other bite size pieces of produce.
- Green grapes are a bit more sour and red are a bit more sweet, so depending on the flavor you are going for you can use more or less of your preferred flavor.
- Cantaloupe and honeydew melon are easy substitutes for each other.
- While watermelon is often cheap per serving, we prefer to serve it on the side in a separate dish instead of mixing in to this salad.
- Choose ripe fruit the day before the party and plan to visit 1 to 3 stores to get a good mixture of fruit.
- We like choosing a variety of fresh fruit that is available and affordable all year around.
Can Fruit Salad Be Made Ahead of Time?
This easy fruit salad can be made and mixed up one day ahead of time.
Sometimes the strawberries will purge a bit of their red color onto the pineapple. While this has not been an issue for me when preparing and refrigerating the fruit salad immediately a way to prevent this is to chop fruit but wait to mix until a few hours before the party.
How to Make a Big Batch of Fruit Salad
Rinse all berries, grapes and even the outside of the melon.
Remove the stems, peel if necessary and cut into bite size pieces.
Keep fruit as chilled as your hands can manage in the prep process. The goal is to avoid filling the refrigerator with room temperate food all at once.
Gently move, pour or spoon fruit into a large commercial sized mixing bowl. I have a set ranging from 16 to 20 quart bowls that are great for my big batch recipes.
Minimize handling as much as possible and keep fruit chilled as much as possible to help preserve the shelf life of the pieces of fruit.
If serving outside in the summer try to serve a metal pan on top of another pan of ice for best quality.
Recipe Tips & Tricks
- I like to shop for ripe fruit 1 – 2 days before the party. Allow time to stop at a couple stores as inventory may vary and try to go early in the morning for the best selection.
- Using a glaze means more stirring during the party and could make the look change in warm conditions. We find the more guests of mixed ages prefer plain fruit than salad with a flavored glaze.
- Avoid stacking fruit too high to prevent bruising and damaging the perishable food. Also avoid stacking pans to best protect the fruit.
- Plan to have adequate refrigerator space to set pans of fruit in a single layer or on top of another firm, level, non-fruit item.
- If making fruit salad for 100 or more people you may need to ask a friend or neighbor to help store some of the trays of the finished product.
- If fresh pineapple is unavailable you can substitute canned, drained, pineapple tidbits. Pineapple is the only canned fruit that can be mixed in without noticeably compromising the quality of the fruit salad.
- Should time and money be limiting factors a large can of fruit salad may be the best option to serve.
More Recipes For A Crowd:
- Cheesy Potatoes in a roaster will easily create 100 servings and a super big batch.
- Macaroni & Cheese in a roaster has gotten the best feedback and comments from many readers.
- Taco Bar and a checklist of the items needed and this Shredded Beef in a roaster is a perfect addition.
- Loaded Baked Potato Bar and a list of what to serve with the potatoes.
Fruit Salad For A Crowd
- 4 cups Strawberries 2 pounds
- 4 cups Red Grapes 1.5 pounds
- 4 cups Green Grapes 1.5 pounds
- 4 cups Honeydew Melon 1/2 melon
- 3 cups Blueberries 14 ounces
- 3 cups Pineapple 1/2 pineapple
- 2 cups Blackberries 8 ounces
- 1 cup Kiwi 3 kiwis
- Wash all berries and the outside of the melon. Drain and let air dry.
- Clean stems out of strawberries and cut into bite size pieces. Place dry pieces in an extra large commercial sized mixing bowl.
- Chop melon and pineapple into small, bite size pieces.
- Remove grapes from the stems and add to mixing bowl.
- Add blueberries to the bowl.
- Very gently mix the fruits with the biggest quantities that are a bit more durable. Carefully pour or spoon into a serving bowl or aluminum foil party pans.
- Garnish the top of the mixed fruit with chopped kiwi and clean, dry blackberries.
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