For the record, I’m a big fan of the mini-marshmallow.
One of my greatest food memories is cozying up to a marshmallow-y fruit salad — classic Southern ambrosia – that someone brought to my maternal grandfather’s after funeral gathering. I’ll never forget the way the baby marshmallows melted into the citrus juice, creating creamy goodness and a perfect comforting texture. I couldn’t stop eating it. Years later, I similarly fell in love with something called Green Stuff, a congealed cottage cheese and marshmallow fruit salad made by an old boyfriend’s mother and always served at his family’s Thanksgiving dinner. Yum. I love a bowl of trashy.
But as much as I savor marshmallows, and as much as I bow down to tradition, this year, I wanted an all-natural version of the classic holiday side….
Ambrosia goes natch
This ambrosia takes advantage of three kinds of local citrus, including kumquats that have been quickly candied. It also includes unsweetened coconut and all natural pitted cherries. A tablespoon of honey gives it a kick of sweetness.
Marshmallows, God bless ‘em, are optional.
All natural ambrosia
Makes 3 cups, or 4 servings
1 cup water
½ cup sugar
About 10 kumquats, sliced into thin slices and seeded
½ cup unsweetened dried coconut, plus ¼ cup for garnish (available in healthy foods stores)
1 tablespoon honey
¼ cup no red dye pitted bing cherries, patted dry and sliced in half (such as Tillen Farms)
Fresh chopped mint for garnish
First, make candied kumquats by bringing water to boil in a small saucepan. Turn off heat, add sugar and whisk vigorously. Add sliced kumquat and let steep for 10 minutes. Remove slices from syrup and set aside.
Section grapefruit and oranges, removing pith and add sections to a medium bowl. Add sliced banana, kumquat slices, coconut, honey and cherries. Stir to combine. Serve in small bowls and garnish with mint and more coconut.