A quick look online for an Ambrosia recipe will confirm that folks are confused or engaged in some foodie apostasy. When I saw one recipe that involved stirring in a package of dried pudding, I decided to blog.
Southern Ambrosia is a simple fruit salad, eaten as a side dish or as a dessert. It is made with Navel oranges, bananas, apples, shredded coconut and Maraschino cherries that were raised in a glass jar in the same family as cocktail olives and pickled pearl onions. No cream, no marshmallows, no canned Mandarin oranges and no nuts God damn it! This is not a Waldorf. This is ambrosia.
If you combine cream and canned fruits with their syrup, with or without nuts and/or coconut, you have the ingredients for what my mother called “Frozen Fruit Cocktail”. Very popular with kids in the 1970’s. These years were not good to food.
If you cannot find Navel oranges, because they are out of season, or, if you live in some God forsaken place where you simply cannot get Navel oranges, then you wait to make your Ambrosia until the fruit is in season or you move to a place where Navel oranges are available.
True Southern Ambrosia
Two large peeled Navel oranges
Two sweet red apples of your liking
Two firm but not green bananas
Shredded coconut to taste
6 or 8 Maraschino cherries
Cut each section of orange in half and place in your bowl.
Dice the apple and add to the orange and stir.
Slice the banana, thick, and add to the orange and apple mixture.
(The reason you do the orange first is to lend the citric acid to the other fruit so that it does not brown.)
Add a couple of healthy four finger pinches of coconut and finally the cherries. Give it a quick stir, cover with plastic wrap and keep it cold until needed.
Tip: Make your ambrosia just before dinner. That same citric acid that is helpful in keeping the apples and bananas from turning brown will also turn the whole dish to mush if you let it stand to long.