My family have been making Ensalada de Nochebuena for Christmas for more than 50 years and it is still a favorite of both young and old.
This is my family’s recipe, it has changed over the years. The original recipe had lettuce and sugar cane and was served mostly dry, but ours now is very fruity and sweet and yummy and wet. The fruit floats in an exquisite combination of beet and jamaica juice. This recipe makes plenty for all 35 of my family who are regularly together each Christmas and then some. I usually eat two or three cups of it myself.
I recommend making it at least 8 hours before serving. And I insist that the beet and jamaica juice be made one day in advance to allow enough time to cool down before adding the fruit.
Ensalada de Nochebuena
- 2 medium beets
- 1/4 kilogram Dry Jamaica flowers (slightly more than 1/2 lb)
- 3 cups of sugar, divided
- 15 guavas
- 4 apples
- 45 tejocotes
- 1 medium jicama
- 4 oranges
- 4 mandarin oranges
- 4 limas (looks like a combo between a lemon and a lime, but is different and the flavor is very sweet and lovely. See photo immediately above)
- 1 pound of shelled roasted (unsalted) peanuts
Remember that it is recommended to make this salad one day in advance to allow all the flavors to combine.
Peel beets put them in a pot, cover with water (approx 1.5 – 2 quarts) and add a cup of sugar, cook them over medium-high heat for approx. 30 minutes or until they are soft. In a big pot cook the jamaica flowers with 4 liter (approx 4 quarts) of water and 1 1/2 – 2 cups of sugar. Cook over high heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to boil and then lower the heat and let it simmer for 10 minutes. Allow the beets and jamaica to cool down.
Keep them overnight in the fridge.
The next morning, take the beets out of the water and chop them into small square pieces and put them in a big bowl. Reserve the juice.
Cut guavas in small pieces. Peel and cut in small pieces apples, tejocotes and jicama. Peel oranges, mandarin oranges and limas, remove the membrane and divide each wedge in half and add to the salad bowl. Strain the beet juice over the fruit and then carefully strain the jamaica water over the top of the fruits as well.
Finally add the peanuts (they should be peeled completely). Mix everything and let it rest for at least 8 hours before serving.
Yum! Love it!