This Ingredient Will Transform Fruit Salad Into A Sweet Dessert

No summertime barbecue or family get-together is complete without a colorful bowl of fruit salad that was picked at the height of its freshness. The delicious, yet healthy fruit dish helps to balance out the richer, savory hamburger and chips already placed on the plastic plate.

The versatile salad can be adapted to what's in season, a person's favorite fruits, or even to a holiday (think red strawberries and raspberries and blueberries for the Fourth of July). The most essential quality for a successful fruit salad is delicious fruit, but from there it's up to the preparer to make it their own — from adding coconut flakes for a little sweetness, to candied walnuts for a little crunch. While many people may have grown up eating fruit salad made with canned cocktail (there's nothing wrong with this version, but perhaps consider adding fresh grapes), it has gotten easier and cheaper for home cooks to use a variety of fresh fruits for their salad.

Life Made Simple supplies some tips on picking the best fruits for the salad: Only use fruit that won't brown (avoid bananas and apples unless eating within the next 30 minutes); avoid fruit that will get smushed like overripe raspberries; and use fruit that is in season or ripe.  A few other tips from Life Made Simple include cutting fruit so it's uniform in size and toss fruit with freshly squeezed citrus juice or zest instead of sugar. And, if you are looking to turn your fruit salad into a sweet dessert, this ingredient remains essential.

From a side dish to dessert

Most often served as a side dish at a picnic or potluck, fruit salad can be made into a dessert with the addition of one simple ingredient: whipping cream. Cathy's Gluten Free suggests whipping together ¾ cup heavy whipping cream with 1 tablespoon of maple syrup until peaks form when you lift the beaters and then stir into the prepared fruit. Or you can use honey to sweeten the whipping cream in a recipe provided by A Joyfully Mad Kitchen

To give it an adult twist, a recipe on AllRecipes suggests adding raspberry-flavored liqueur, such as Chambord, to the whipping cream, as well as white sugar. For a child-friendly version, substitute raspberry extract for the alcohol. A Joyfully Mad Kitchen recommends using a stand mixer or hand mixer for making whipped cream, though you can also use a mason jar

No matter how you make it, make it your own with your favorite fresh fruits and enjoy a refreshing bowl of yummy.