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
- For the syrup
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
- 1-inch knob fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced into coins
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- For the salad
- 1 pound strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and quartered
- 1 pint blueberries, rinsed and dried
- 3 oranges, peeled and cut into segments
- 1 mango, peeled and diced into 1-inch pieces
- 2 cups red grapes, rinsed and dried
- 1 pineapple, peeled, cored, quartered, and chopped into 1-inch pieces
- In a small saucepan, combine the water, sugar, and ginger. Bring to a boil then lower the heat and let simmer for 10 minutes. Stir to make sure all the sugar as dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Let the mixture steep for 30 minutes. Strain into a clean bowl and let cool completely.
- Once the syrup has cooled, combine all of the fruit into a big serving bowl. Pour the syrup over top and toss everything together to combine. Taste the fruit and adjust with a bit of sugar, if needed.
- Refrigerate the salad for 30 minutes to let the flavors come together. Remove from the refrigerator 15 minutes before serving.
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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:
The Lemon Bowl: Lemon Garlic Chicken Kabobs
Bacon and Souffle: Roasted Shrimp Orzo
The Hungry Traveler: Ginger Vanilla Fruit Salad
Homemade Delish: Festive Champagne Punch
Dishin & Dishes: Savory Tomato, Roasted Garlic and Mozzarella Tart
Creative Culinary: Zucchini and Cream Cheese Casserole
TasteBook: Apple-Pecan Chicken Salad
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Batter Fried Pepper with Tzatziki Sauce
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