Add Lavender To Your Fruit Salad For A Hint Of Floral Sweetness

A colorful, juicy bowl of vibrant fruit salad can bring a smile to anyone's face. After all, who doesn't love a jumble of mother nature's candy? Whether you choose to exclusively use berries or opt for a tropical variety that includes mango, pineapple, strawberries, and coconut, sometimes that bowl of goodness needs a hint of something extra to bring the multitude of chosen fruit varieties together. If you've grown tired of pairing your favorite citrus juice with a bit of honey or agave to amp up your everyday fruit salad, you should consider making homemade lavender syrup.

Fresh or dried, lavender is a welcoming yet potent herb that can add a new and unexpected flavor to fresh fruit. The plant's purple-hued buds have floral undertones with a taste that echoes both mint and rosemary, which are both sharp herbs in their own right. If you're new to using lavender to enhance your favorite foods, it's a good idea to follow specific recipes so you don't accidentally add too much of this full-bodied plant. When hand-crafting a delicious fruit salad, homemade lavender syrup makes for an exciting, floral-infused upgrade.

How to make a subtle lavender syrup for your next bowl of fruit salad

While you may have heard of infusing lavender into your favorite cream and sugar-based desserts like honey lavender ice cream and Meyer lemon lavender bars, lavender simple syrup is the ideal way to bring some herbaceous sweetness to your fruit salad when you're craving a touch of something different. In order to make lavender syrup, all you need to do is combine somewhat equal parts of sugar and water or, if you like, sugar, honey, and water in a saucepan and carefully bring the mixture to a gentle simmer.

After the sugar has completely dissolved, add a small helping of dried lavender buds and let the herb steep for roughly five minutes before straining. Depending on the type of lavender you're using, you may want to taste test the syrup after the suggested five minutes to decide if this herb-infused mixture has a strong enough lavender taste for your liking. Once you feel satisfied with the flavor of your homemade syrup, strain out the lavender buds by pouring the mixture through cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer. Then cool the mixture completely before adding a spoonful or two to your fresh fruit salad. Now that you know how to make lavender syrup, let's get into the specifics. Beyond choosing fruits that pair well with this floral herb, you also want to use the correct type of lavender when making this signature syrup.

Choose English lavender for your next homemade syrup

It's important to note that not all lavender plants are the same. When choosing lavender for your next fruit salad, you should aim for culinary-grade lavender only, or more specifically, true or English lavender. This particular strain of the floral herb has a mild smell, unlike French lavender, which has an overpowering, perfume-like aroma due to the plant's oils emanating from the buds. When choosing lavender at the store, select a variety that's bright in color and labeled as "culinary lavender." If unlabeled as such, ask an employee or choose a definitive food-grade variety. Keep in mind that dried lavender is also more potent than fresh, so start with a small amount and add more as your taste buds allow.

When choosing fruits to pair with your newly made syrup, lavender tends to align well with stone fruits, berries, and especially citrus fruits. While your lavender syrup may be delicious atop your medley of citrus fruit with fresh mint, feel free to experiment with the fruits you have on hand. If you want to get even more adventurous, lavender also pairs well with herbs like basil, rosemary, and thyme, so you can even try adding in a small amount of an additional herb when steeping lavender for syrup. Any assortment of fruit is delicious all on its own, but if you want a new and exciting flavor, try adding lavender syrup for a delicately flavored floral upgrade.