Take Your Fruit Salad To The Next Level With One Simple Ingredient

While the people have likely been eating a mix of fruits combined together in a bowl for as long as they have been eating fruit, the idea of adding other ingredients and calling it a salad is a more modern invention.

According to the Kitchn, it wasn't until the mid-19th Century that fruit salad, in the form of the whipped cream, mayonnaise, and sour cream-covered fruit in ambrosia (a southern Christmas staple, says to Southern Living), landed on America's tables. The Waldorf salad, with its apples soaked in mayonnaise, arrived soon after.

When the fruit cocktail arrived, it was literally a cocktail, or fruit spiked with booze. The advent of commercial canning in the early part of the 20th Century allowed Del Monte to create its canned fruit cocktails as a way to sell damaged produce. Prohibition saw that the booze was removed from the fruit cocktail, leading canners to begin adding sweet syrup to the mix. And this is where we find our very own fruit salad inspiration, which features the best of both worlds.

Try this simple addition to level up fruit salad

While fruit purists today may eschew the idea of a sweetened syrup covering nature's candy, a homemade, infused simple syrup can turn a boring bowl of cut-up fruit into the star of the dessert table.

The Washington Post recommends pairing light herbs like mint, basil, or culinary lavender to make an infusion for fruit salad. They suggest using fresh ginger or vanilla beans for a more flavorful syrup. You'd not be remiss in using a spicy to chili pepper for an infusion. The heat from the chili offsets the sweetness of the sugary syrup, leaving a flavor explosion on your tongue.

According to the Post, make a simple syrup by bringing equal parts water and sugar to a boil. Cook until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and add whatever you'd like to infuse. Leave for 30 minutes, then strain out the solids. Pour the syrup into the bottom of a serving bowl before adding cut fruit. Mix gently.

This simple addition elevates a boring fruit salad to a sophisticated centerpiece for your next celebration.