Growing up, my mom always cut up fresh fruit and arranged it on a plate with a shot glass full of toothpicks in the middle. It’s always fun to pick your own fruit!
I remember one time when I was at my friend’s house. Her mother asked me if I wanted fruit salad — I said, “Yes, please.” You should have seen my face when she opened a small can of canned fruit, put it into a clear bowl, and handed me a spoon. At that point I was yearning for my mother’s fruit salad.
My mother’s other version was fresh fruit tossed with some orange or lime juice and sugar. Inspired by her, I came up with my own version: lime, lemon, a little maple syrup, along with an herb syrup made with rosemary or mint.
Cut your fruit in large chunks rather than cutting it into small pieces — I find that small pieces of fruit get mealy and mushy. Make the salad the morning you’re going to serve it, but if you’re determined to make it the night before, cut up the fruit and store it in separate containers and toss it together in the morning. Use bananas, apples, berries — the possibilities are endless! And unless you’re using the ripest, sweetest seasonal fruit, every fruit salad needs a little sugar.
For the salad:
- 1 pint strawberries, stemmed and halved
- 1 half-pint raspberries
- 1 half-pint blueberries
- 2 oranges, peeled and cut into sections
- 2 kiwis, peeled and cut into large chunks
- 1 mango, peeled and cut into large chunks
- 2 cups fresh pineapple, cut into large chunks
- 1 cup cantaloupe or honeydew melon chunks
- ¼ cup fresh mint, julienned, for garnish
For the herb syrup:*
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup chopped fresh rosemary or mint
For the salad:
Combine all of the fruit in a large bowl.
For the herb syrup:
Bring the water to a boil, add the sugar, and then the rosemary or mint. Boil until the sugar is completely dissolved, about 2 minutes. Strain through a colander into a bowl. Let the syrup cool and combine with the fruit.
Garnish with mint or rosemary sprigs. Serve immediately.