Fruit Cocktail is a mixture of fruits.  It is served chilled, and less sweet than fruit salad.  Also where as a fruit salad can be almost any combination of fruits avaiable a fruit cocktail primarily consists of  peaches, pears, pineapples, grapes, and occasionally cherries.  These fruits can be served/ packed in syrups or juices.  The USDA says in order to be sold and titled “Fruit Cocktail” the mix must contain 30%-50% Peaches, 25%-45% Pears, 6%-16% pineapple, 6%-20% grapes, and 0%-6% cherries.

Retail sale of Fruit Cocktail has existed since the 1938 (or before) and was once was one of the top 3 canned fruit items.  It was served as a dessert or snack with many lunches or dinners during the middle of the century.  Fruit Cocktail was a way to make good use of bruised or damaged fruit that couldn’t be used for individual sale.  Most Fruit Cocktails come packages in syrups, but I found a great brand that came in fruit juice.  It was from the Dole Fruit Company, and perhaps the best fruit cup I’ve ever had.  It was not sweet at all, and it tasted as thought I was eating real fruit and not something that had been processed.  I highly recommend them.