It’s not every day that you run across a food that is so completely in tune with the holidays.
Think about it – one dish eaten primarily this time of year that celebrates the bounty of the harvest in a colorful way, that’s healthy and gives us the gift of historicity every year.
Welcome to National Ambrosia Month.
Ambrosia is not just fruit salad
Having grown up in an Italian family, Your Examiner learned about ambrosia early on.
Not many dishes on your Christmas sideboard can confer on you “ageless immortality.”
Yes, gentle readers, modern ambrosia has descended to us from the gods of the ancient Greeks.
Because many of the ingredients were so hard to find and so expensive in the Mediterranean of old, only certain people were allowed to buy and eat them.
Billed in the literature as the “mythical food of the gods,” ambrosia is said to be brought on the wings of doves as a “divine exhalation of the Earth.”
A herculean task?
It’s true that ambrosia can be a little tedious to make. (See the list of ingredients below.)
For one thing, the dish has very many components, as the chefs say.
For another, since ambrosia is brandied, you have prep the fresh fruit by cutting slits in it and letting it marinate for at least 48 hours.
Fortunately most of the other ingredients can be bought ready to use.
And one big-ass glass bowl, like a punch bowl, holds it all.
You can even marinate the fresh fruit in your big-ass bowl and use the liquid to flavor the rest of the ambrosia.
Exploding ambrosia myths
- Contrary to popular belief, tiny marshmallows, mayonnaise, sour cream and cream cheese have no place in real ambrosia.
- Although some prefer nectar to honey, often it’s not sweet enough to offset some of the more bitter flavors. For a nice, warm balance, clover honey is the ticket.
- Unlike your basic, nasty fruit salad, well-made ambrosia has the same mellow, slightly fermented flavor of fruitcake properly made from scratch.
- Pull the brandy’s fangs before you add the fruit by bringing it to a slow boil then cooling it before adding the fruit. Ethanol distills out at around 90°F, leaving all of the flavor you want and saving you the hassle of chasing down your drunk, naked children.
It’s all about flavor
What makes good ambrosia so rich is adding the spices that taste best to you.
Often just a little nutmeg, ginger and cinammon bring out the very best of your holiday spirit and make your ambrosia the very first thing people smell when they hit the front door.
Not quite sweet enough?
Add a little more honey.
Want your ambrosia to taste a little more like mincemeat?
Either add some white rum or substitute it for the brandy altogether.
And may it taste so good that it makes you want to live forever.
List of ingredients for ambrosia
- Green grapes
- Purple grapes
- Pears, skinned & sliced
- Sliced Granny Smith Apples, skin on
- Pineapple, chunked
- Grapefruit, seeded & macerated in honey
- Oranges pulled apart in sections
- Candied cherries
- Candied lemons
- Dried cranberries
- Cling peaches, chunked
- Pecans halves
- Walnuts, shredded
- Shredded coconut
Spices & Seasonings: To taste –
- Ground cinammon
- Ground ginger
- Ground nutmeg
- Light brown sugar
- Brandy or white rum
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OFFICIAL BIO: K Truitt is a second-generation, native Floridian born in Jacksonville. Truitt worked in public higher education for 25 years, most recently in Texas, is a successful grant writer, knows newspaper publishing, printing and graphic design and wants to work in the public sector. Contact: email@example.com