For example, you could mix it into boring oatmeal or basic coffee cake, embed it in sparkly jello molds and pastel-colored pies, or even use it on top of plain ham and canned luncheon meat.
The idea was that this ready-made mixture of diced peaches, pears, cherries, grapes, and pineapple, all swimming in a sugary syrup, could transform the simplest meals into something special.
In many ways, canned fruit cocktail was a symbol of the era’s innovations in food preservation — a new way to offer a taste of summertime fruits year-round.
Despite its popularity and resulting widespread use, opinions on fruit cocktail recipes were mixed. Some people found them uninspiring or overly simplistic, while others pretty much considered them culinary ingenuity.
Here are just a few of the many fruit cocktail recipes and serving suggestions for the canned stuff. Some are weird, many seem bland, and more than a few seem like the ad agencies were pretty much just saying you should pour fruit cocktail on everything.
Molded vintage fruit cocktail and ham party loaf from 1953
Really different! Ham and salad molded in one loaf! To you, this means a grand time and trouble-saver you’re truly proud to serve.
5-fruit coffee cake: Breakfast with fruit cocktail poured on top
Open their eyes with this roundup of summer fruits – Even Sunday-morning sleepy-heads brighten up with such marvelous flavor!
4-decker fruit tart dessert with fruit cocktail from 1960
New “what-to-serve: for a party, and so spectacular made with Del Monte Fruit Cocktail!
Make this version for fancy affairs — other times, skip the pastry and serve the filling as pudding. The color and flavor of Del Monte fruit cocktail will make it a sparkling success either way.
Fruit cocktail and pineapple jello vintage recipe
Fast, Fancy, Fun! Prepare Royal pineapple gelatin according to package directions. Add 4 drops of mint extract — chill until set. Then drain canned fruit cocktail and spoon alternate layers of gelatin and fruit cocktail into serving glasses.
Holiday ham slices tutti frutti retro recipe from 1966
Ham, ma’am? Cuddle it in Reynolds Wrap to bake in flavor.
Vintage fruit Bavarian molded dessert from 1948
California sponge dessert cake recipe with fruit cocktail (1965)
Serve this unusual dessert cake to your family soon!
Fruit Boston fruit cocktail 1960s dessert recipe
Gay colors, neat cuts, ideal flavor — this brand has it all. (A baked custard layer with fruit, sandwiched between layers of cake.)
Fruit cocktail dessert recipes from 1960
For a dessert with the elegance to impress the most critical bridge club… for a dessert so breezily easy to make, it’s always sheer perfection.
Fruit surprise recipe: Here’s frothy dessert fun the whole family can enjoy! Make Jell-O strawberry chiffon as directed on the package. Then fold in well-drained fruit cocktail, pour into individual dessert dishes, and chill. Makes 6 pink and pretty servings!
Lemon chiffon dessert recipe: Turn contents of a package of Jello lemon chiffon pie filling into large deep bowl. Add 1/2 cup boiling water and mix thoroughly.
Drain 1/2 cup syrup from no. 303 can fruit cocktail and add to chiffon mix. Beat with rotary beater until very foamy, about 1 minute. Add 1/4 cup sugar and continue beating until mixture stands in very stiff peaks. Fold in 2 tablespoons lemon juice and well-drained fruit cocktail.
Sprinkle 3/4 cup fine graham cracker crumbs in bottom of 8-inch square pan. Turn in chiffon. Sprinkle with additional 1/4 cup crumbs. Chill until firm, then cut into squares to serve. Makes 9 servings.
1948 recipe for jeweled fruit salad – made with gelatin and canned fruit cocktail
Perfect meal starter! Magic dessert! Glamorous, dainty, quick…
What beautiful desserts you can make! What showy salads! Even in baking, those sparkling fruits lose none of their lively color or sun-ripe flavor. Canned fruit cocktail has dozens of uses!
Rainbow pudding fruit cocktail recipe (1950)
Just guess how easy — you know how good!
When you get five luscious fruits as mellow and ripe as you know Del Monte packs them — that’s a flavor combination that has what it takes to help and help and help! One look, one taste — and you’re off to a gay and glamorous start!
Rainbow ham (1959)
Easy Easter feast with Hormel Ham and fruit cocktail… Rainbow ham! Hot or cold… serve it saucy… tender pink ham slices with a jewel of a bright new idea… Rainbow fruit sauce!
It’s so easy to make… Here’s how: Drain one 2-1/2 can fruit cocktail. Set aside fruit while you boil syrup until thick. Add 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1-1/2 tablespoons vinegar, fruit. Heat and pour steaming hot on Hormel ham slices.
Diet Delight fruit cocktail recipe (1959)
The fruit cocktail that makes it fun to watch your weight!
Oatmeal and fruit… blended! (1959)
New breakfast idea! Stir in your favorite canned fruit while the oatmeal cooks
Holiday gelatin mold with fruit cocktail (1949)
Festive treats are so easy with this fruit cocktail and Jell-O!
Holiday fruit mold / Christmas tree salad / Fruit cocktail appetizer
Eggnog fruit cocktail pie: New holiday pie idea…
GET THE HOW-TO: Fruit cocktail eggnog pie: The old-fashioned recipe
Fruit Alaska recipe
Elegance made easy by the sparkling quality
You’ve noticed how beautiful Del Monte Fruit Cocktail looks just spooned out plain, haven’t you? You’ll find that this quality makes impressive desserts like Fruit Alaska prettier and easier, too!
Vintage recipe for cake casseroles
Start with a Betty Crocker cake mix, and you know your cake will come out light and moist and homemade-tender. Combine it with a wholesome fruit — bake the two together — and you’ve created a brand-new dessert! Serve your “creation” hot and heavenly, right from the oven, in your prettiest casserole. Someone’s going to love you for this!
Canned fruit cocktail suspended in jello
What’s your pleasure? Would you like a colorful, shimmering salad? Or a light and delightful dessert?
1966 fruit cocktail sandwich loaf topping
Prettiest party refreshments yet: a sandwich loaf covered in softened cream cheese and decked out with Del Monte fruit cocktail. Fillings shown: deviled ham, chopped olive-cheese mixture, deviled egg salad.