Seriously, Memorial Day is Monday? That has to be a mistake. My calendar says we’re only in mid—no wait, late—May.
Guess I’d better lose that five ten pounds, pronto.
While the weather here in NYC already leans toward summery (translation: I’m sweaty and sticky and gross, but our air conditioners aren’t hooked up yet), the fruity offerings at the farmers’ market remain mired in 2012. Last fall’s apples were everywhere on Saturday, along with strawberries so precious the farmer limited purchases to two pints each—and at $5/pint, we savored every juicy ruby straight from the basket.
At this time of year if you’ve got a hankering for fruit salad (in the four-seasons areas of the country, at least) you’re using supermarket produce. Odds are it’s going to need a little enhancement. Generally speaking I’m not a fan of adding sugar to fresh fruit, but for another month or two the fruit just ain’t up to snuff. And if you’re, say, having people over for a Memorial Day barbecue, you’ll want to be sure that what you’re serving is, y’know, worth serving.
Which is where this ginger-mint syrup comes in. It couldn’t be easier to make: You mix equal parts sugar and water, and once that simmers you throw in some sliced ginger and fresh mint leaves, then let it steep. Pour over fruit, toss, and chill. Boom.
Ginger-Mint Fruit Salad
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
One 1-inch piece ginger, sliced thin
4 sprigs of fresh mint
10 cups cut fresh fruit [I used an entire cantaloupe, half a honeydew, half a large pineapple, one large mango, three kiwis, and two pounds of strawberries]
- In a small saucepan, combine sugar and water over medium-low heat. Whisk until sugar completely dissolves, and simmer for 1 minute. Add ginger and mint sprigs, stir, and let steep at least 20 minutes, preferably until cool.
- While the ginger-mint syrup is steeping, cut your fruit and put it into a large mixing bowl. Strain the syrup into the bowl, toss, cover, and chill for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.
MAKE BABY FOOD: Fresh fruit, heck yeah. Sugar syrup, not so much. Reserve some of the chopped fruit especially for baby. If you’re on purees, serve as-is or stir some into plain yogurt.