Fruitcakes get a bad rap, and at least some of the blame for this must go to the neon-colored, highly processed fruit that has come to be associated with fruitcake. But it doesn’t have to be that way. “You can use real dried fruits, not the dried and dyed abominations,” says magiesmom.

Some hounds seem to eschew citron in their fruitcakes. Karl S never uses it. “I used dried fruits like: cranberries, tart cherries, blueberries, sultanas, dates or figs, apricots, mango, papaya and kiwi (both look fabulous in a fruit cake, and taste great), along with generous amounts of tangerine and lemon zest,” Karl S says. “The best candied orange peel can be found in Middle Eastern grocers.”

Michelly also skips the citron. “I use a combination of pineapple, dried blueberries, Craisins, farmer’s market Thompson seedless and golden raisins, and crystallized ginger. Most of these I get from Trader Joe’s,” Michelly says.

And for the ultimate in neon-fruit-free Chowhound seasonal baking, you can always candy your own fruit peels. Make some shockingly tasty fruitcakes this year and surprise everyone!

Discuss: Fruit for fruitcake, does better quality exist?

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