Why You Should Consider Macerating Fruit Salad

It's hard to think of a recipe that pulls more weight than fruit salad. Whether you're tucking into the cool, refreshing mix of fruits as part of your breakfast, toting it to a picnic or cookout, placing a bowl of it among bagels and smoked salmon at brunch, or even mounding it with whipped cream in order to transform it into a fast dessert, fruit salad is able to pull off an astonishing variety of roles.

More of an idea than a concrete recipe, fruit salad can, of course, encompass any combination of fruits you desire, along with common additions such as fresh herbs and nuts. You pretty much can't go wrong when choosing how to put together a fruit salad, but it's always a good idea to select ripe, seasonal fruits; Pay attention to the fruits' colors and visual contrast and stir together a variety of textures, too. But if you're fixin' to make a fruit salad and find that your go-to ideas aren't really doing it for you, it might be time to consider making a macerated fruit salad.

What is macerated fruit?

Have you ever heard of macerated fruit? A simple concept that can add a ton of flavor to fruit salad, maceration can be thought of as marination for fruit, explains Serious Eats. To macerate, you simply toss fresh or dried fruit with a flavorful liquid such as liquor, vinegar, or simple syrup, and, after a few hours, the fruit will absorb the flavor and juiciness of that liquid. Fresh fruit will take on an amped-up flavor and dried fruits will plump and become soft.

While tossing cut fruit together is sort of a maceration in and of itself, due to the fact that the fruits are technically macerating in each others' juices, a simple and effective way to pump up your next fruit salad is to macerate on purpose. Serious Eats recommends liquids such as fruity, herbal, or spicy liquors, balsamic or apple cider vinegar, and sweeteners, including honey, maple syrup, and agave nectar. 

You should let macerated fruit sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight to really give the fruit a chance to soften and plump, and you can feel free to add other ingredients such as citrus zest, whole spices, fresh ginger, and vanilla or almond extracts to add even more zing. So the next time fruit salad is on the menu, take a cue from marination and turn to maceration for extra oomph.