Gabe Mattson

Gabe Mattson made a fruit salad and took home a purple ribbon at the 4-H Club special foods competition in June. He’ll compete at the South Dakota State Fair later this month.

In his first two years competing in the special foods contest for 4-H Club, 10-year-old Gabe Mattson made smoothies.

This year, he said he wanted to switch it up.

“I just wanted to do something away from smoothies, but a little harder,” Gabe said. “I decided to do a salad, so Mom looked on the internet and found the fruit salad.”

The salad they found had a citrus- honey dressing, meaning Gabe had to learn some new skills.

“Probably zesting the orange, lemon and lime,” Gabe said when asked what the hardest part was.

He prepped all the fruit himself, with the exception of some of the harder to peel things, like mangoes.

“Mom got it off the core for you, but then you had to cut it,” said Stephanie Mattson, Gabe’s mother.

The special foods competition has some rules Gabe needed to follow, Mattson said. It needed to be six servings or less and contain at least one whole serving of the food group in its category.

Because it was mostly fruit and a small enough batch, Mattson said they didn’t have to make any tweaks to the recipe.

It was a tough decision to not do a smoothie this year, Gabe said.

“I like blending things,” he said. “That’s fun.”

The first year he competed, he made a peanut butter banana smoothie, and last year it was “jurassic juice,” a recipe he found in “The Better Homes and Garden Junior Cookbook,” Gabe said.

“It’s like pineapple, bananas, mango, mango yogurt,” Gabe said.

While he’d had the fruits from the salad separately, it was the first time for the combinations, he said.

Fruit salad isn’t his favorite food, Gabe said.

“I like mac and cheese, bacon cheeseburgers,” he said. “Apples, peppers.”

Gabe earned a purple ribbon at the special foods contest and will compete again at the South Dakota State Fair in Huron at the end of the month.

If you have a great recipe or story idea, contact columnist Katherine Grandstrand at 605-622-2310, or follow @kgrandstrandAAN on Twitter.

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