The first fresh mint of the season is beginning to poke its head up in the kitchen garden and if you grow it yourself, you know how rapidly it can take over the herb bed.
This is a lovely, light, refreshing dessert that puts mint to good use and tickles up the flavours of the fruit beautifully.
The syrup can be used in a range of puddings, cakes and summer drinks. It will keep in the fridge for a week or so.
This recipe will give you a lightly minty syrup with just a hint of warmth from the ginger – it still allows the taste of the individual fruits to dominate – but feel free to increase the dosage if you’d like stronger flavours.
Exotic Fruit Salad With a Mint and Ginger Syrup
Your choice of fresh pineapple, mango, blood oranges, black grapes, passion fruit, peaches or nectarines, kiwi fruit, star fruit or whatever else takes your fancy.
If you have access to fresh dates, they’re lovely pitted and cut into chunks and scattered across the salad.
If you’d like to increase the gingeriness of the dish, chop up a few pieces of stem ginger, the sort that comes in a jar full of syrup.
For the syrup:
A bunch of fresh mint (about 30g before picking the leaves off)
A large thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger
200g castor sugar
230 ml water
First make the syrup. Pick the leaves off the mint, saving a few sprigs for decoration, roughly chop the rest and put it into a heatproof bowl or jug.
Chop up the ginger – no need to peel it – and add it to the mint.
Heat the water and sugar in a saucepan until the water has come a boil and the sugar has melted.
Pour the hot syrup over the mint and ginger, making sure everything is submerged, then cover it and leave it to cool.
Strain the syrup and discard the mint and ginger. You can do all this in advance and keep the syrup in the fridge.
Peel and slice the pineapple, kiwi fruit and mangoes and place in a bowl.
Peel the orange, removing all the pith, cut into thin slices and add to the bowl.
Prepare the peaches or nectarines – you can peel them or not but I’m not keen on furry peach skin – but stone and slice them and put them with the rest of the fruit.
Wash the grapes and add them in, along with the stem ginger if using, then halve the passion fruit and scoop out the seeds, stirring them gently into the fruit salad.
Pour over enough of the syrup to moisten the fruit generously and chill briefly but don’t serve it too cold. Garnish with a few sprigs of mint.
I am entering this for April’s Cooking With Herbs Challenge run by fellow blogger @KarenBurnsBooth at Lavender and Lovage.