Fruit Etiquette

eating etiquette (how to eat...)

Fruit is eaten at the table either peeled or unpeeled; fresh, cooked, or candied; pitted, seeded, or whole.

Table manners for eating peeled fruit. Peeled fruit is eaten cut side down on the plate, which lets juice run onto the plate.

Table manners for eating unpeeled fruit. If the fruit is not peeled, it is eaten with the cut side facing upward which allows the fruits skin to absorb juice.

Table manners for fruit at a formal meal. At formal affairs, fruit is served at the end of the meal. A fruit plate is laid before the diner and on it is placed a fruit knife and a fruit fork. Quarter large and medium-size fruit with a fruit knife and eat them with your fruit fork. Small fresh fruit, such as apricots and plums, are eaten with fingers, as are candied fruit.

Table manners for fruit at an informal meal. At family meals, fruit is served fresh or cooked. When a slice of fresh fruit is served with the rind attached, such as melon, it is presented with a knife and a fork. The rind is removed by sliding the knife under the flesh and the fruit is sectioned with the knife and eaten with the fork. If a knife alone is presented, it is used to pare fruit held in the hand and eaten with fingers. Cooked fruit served in a bowl, such as fruit compote, is eaten with a spoon. Canned fruit served on a plate, such as a crabapple, is eaten with a fork.

Table manners for fruits with a "stone". The stone is the large seed found in fleshy fruit, such as apricots, nectarines, peaches, and plums. The fruit is held with fingers and eaten close to the stone. To remove a stone from the mouth, place the thumb and first two fingers under the stone and deposit it on the plate.

Table manners for fruits with "pits". The pit is the kernel found in small fruit, such as cherries. At an elegant meal, cherries are put into the mouth with a spoon, and the pits are cleaned in the mouth, deposited on the spoon, and placed on the plate. At an informal meal, cherries are put into the mouth with fingers. The pits are deposited into a cupped hand and placed on the plate.

Table manners for fruits with "seeds". Seeds are the tiny embryos of small fruit that grow in clusters, such as grapes. Because grape seeds are too small to remove with a fork, they are deposited into a cupped hand, and put on a plate.

Visit our table manners main page for more general dining etiquette rules.

Sometimes general table manners rules do not address the challenges presented by certain hard-to-eat or unique foods.

This section provides table manners instruction for: