Five Cup Ambrosia Salad

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

When I was a girl and at school, I could hardly wait to be old enough to be able to take Home Economics.  You had to be in Grade 8 to take it, in other words, 14 years of age.  

It was divided into three sections or units of tutelage.  One was sewing, where we learnt how to use a sewing machine and sew simple garments such as an apron on up to more complicated projects.  

The second was Homemaking, which taught us how to keep a home clean, simple mending and hand sewing, knitting, budget planning, etc. the home arts.  

The third was Cookery, where we learnt basic cooking skills that you could then apply to making more complicated dishes, food economy, etc.

No surprise I loved all three sections.  From the time I was a young girl, I really wanted to be a homemaker, wife and mother. 

I saw great value in each of those roles, and thankfully I was blessed to have been able to do just that for most of my children's growing up years.

Although I had always had a really keen interest in food and cooking, I had very little experience. My  mother was not a woman who enjoyed little fingers helping her in the kitchen. If we were in the kitchen we had to stay out of the way and were relegated to being spectators only.  

So, I had no hands on experience at all.  Being able to actually get into a kitchen and create lovely things to eat was really special to me, and I loved every second spent in my high school home economics kitchen! 

One of the first things I remember us making was this Five Cup Ambrosia Salad.  It was simple to make and employed only the skills of draining well, measuring and stirring together. 

It was super delicious!  Not too sweet, surprisingly . . .  and filled with lots of fruit.  You would think that the marshmallows would make it overly sweet, but they do not.  

They kind of melt into the sour cream, and everything comes out tasting quite marvelous.

So called Five Cup Salad, because it measures exactly five cups.  Five different ingredients, stirred together  to make something tasty!

You could cut down on the amounts of the fruit and use only half of each, adding equal amounts of banana and grapes, which is also quite popular.  

I have also seen it with apple and maraschino cherries. 

This is the way I like it best of all with just pineapple, oranges, marshmallows, coconut and the sour cream.  Simple.

Although the name references Ambrosia . . . nectar of the Greek Gods . . . it has nothing at all to do with Greeks.  It is very North American in origin.  

I suppose there are some who would poo poo me using a recipe like this in my English kitchen, but I am a North American in an English kitchen, so its only natural that sometimes the lines between the two blur.

My kitchen . . .  my rules.  Actually I am finding that food has really changed in the UK since I first arrived on these shores almost 18 years ago now.  

More North American ingredients are available than back then, and with the Internet and all it holds so readily available now, people are cooking pretty much anything that strikes their fancy.  

I do love the old traditional dishes, but I love things like this also.

*Five Cup Ambrosia Salad*
Serves 10 
This is such an old recipe, but so delicious. We tend to eat it as a dessert rather than a salad, but to many it goes right along with any main course.  However you eat it, you are sure to enjoy.  You can easily adapt it to your own tastes by using other fruits that are in season. (Apple wedges, bananas, grapes are all good)  The main criteria is that all of the ingredients add up to 5 cups.

225g drained crushed pineapple (1 cup)
75g shredded sweetened coconut (1 cup)
375g tin of mandarin oranges, well drained (1 cup)
50g miniature marshmallows (1 cup)
120g sour cream (1 cup)

Mix all of the ingredients together until well combined.  Cover and chill overnight. Serve chilled.

It is imperative that you do leave this overnight.  The marshmallows kind of melt into the sour cream and everything just tastes pretty wonderful!  A summer treat!  Bon Appetit!


  1. I have never had this..and never had a Home Ec class..French schools did not seem to have it.I had Home Ec..I betI would have liked it!

    1. I think you would have loved Home Ec Monique, much better than religion class which (and you might be surprised here) I think belongs at home not in the school! xo

  2. this is a very popular dish here, we have always made this for Christmas, thanksgiving, pot lucks, that sort of thing, we use a can of fruit cocktail in ours too! I love it!

    1. I have heard of that also Laurie! I bet it tastes great with fruit cocktail! Did you used to fight over the cherries when you were a child? never enough! xo

  3. I'm not just going to have to get more paper if I keep coming here but another ink cartridge too! Looks to die for!

    1. Awww, thanks Jeanie! It is very delicious! xo


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