When I was 4 years old, I went through a phase where I only wanted to wear clothes with fruit on them. My mom searched far and wide and came up with several fruit outfits — t-shirts, shorts, jumpers and even a few pairs of pajamas — all featuring strawberries, cherries, pineapple, watermelon, and other fruit designs. It’s pretty impressive that my mom was able to find all of that considering this was before the days of online shopping. I’m not sure what brought this phase on but apparently I really loved fruit at the time and wanted to show my pride through my sartorial choices.
My weird fruit clothing obsession has passed but my love for fruit hasn’t. Unfortunately, it seems I am always disappointed when I come across fruit salad. It always looks so beautiful but the taste never matches up to the presentation. It’s usually cloyingly sweet with a sugary sauce or bland and boring with nothing to bring the fruit together.
I have fall and the holidays on my mind and I wanted to come up with a fruit salad that could hold its own on the holiday brunch table. I decided to turn to fall spices to create a simple syrup to bring all of the fresh fruit together. I must admit that I was at a bit of a loss on this recipe until I called my mom for help. Her suggestion of a little bit of fresh ginger and pure vanilla extract did the trick.
In this ginger vanilla fruit salad, the syrup adds flavor and personality to the salad but still lets the fruit shine. It has the warm, spicy taste of fall and the bright, festive flavors of the holidays.
Tips and Tricks
You can use any variety of fruit you like. Apples and pears would be nice but make sure you don’t add them until right before serving or they will turn brown.
The easiest way to peel fresh ginger is with a spoon. Just use the edge of the spoon to scrape off the peel.
Vanilla sugar makes a wonderful substitution for the regular granulated sugar.
The fruit tends to release a lot of liquid. It does not affect the flavor, but be sure to serve it with a slotted spoon to avoid a messy plate.
Ginger Vanilla Fruit Salad Recipe
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This recipe is part of Food Network’s weekly Summer Soiree celebration where we are celebrating the best of summer cooking. Check out the links below for more great summer recipes:
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Creative Culinary: Zucchini and Cream Cheese Casserole
TasteBook: Apple-Pecan Chicken Salad
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Healthy Eats: 6 Fall-Forward Recipes for Your Labor Day Celebration
Domesticate Me: Lobster Avocado Toast
Taste with the Eyes: “Margarita” Salmon Burger with Tequila, Lime, and Hatch Chiles
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Grilled Shrimp & Peaches with Arugula Pesto
Red or Green: Spicy Greek Chickpea Spread
The Heritage Cook: Smoked Chicken Salad (Gluten-Free)
The Mom 100: Yogurt Berry Pops
FN Dish: The Last Hurrah: Grill Absolutely Everything on Labor Day