Simple apple syrup adds flavors to fruit

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By Bill Milligan
For the Call

Making up appetizing desserts is so easy it’s a wonder everyone isn’t vegetarian.

This recipe came about one day after sitting down to create a vegetarian recipe and discovering a mental block when it came to meatless dishes.

I willed myself to get creative as a means of overcoming my stalled imagination.

The syrup used in this fruit salad can be used in any way imaginable. I took it from an idea I had for mixing drinks, but it can also be used to sweeten iced tea and to keep any type of fresh fruit bowl from oxidizing and turning brown.

Fruit in Apple Syrup

Syrup:

2 cups apple juice

Zest of one lemon

1/4 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise

Fruit salad:

2 mangoes peeled, diced

1 pint strawberries

1 pint blueberries

1 pear, cubed

This vanilla-apple syrup is  really easy and makes just about everything taste better, especially fruits and nuts.

I particularly enjoy mixing fruits like blueberries, strawberries, apples and cantaloupe with the syrup.

To make vanilla-apple syrup, place apple juice and lemon zest in a medium saucepan. Slice vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape seeds into the juice. Add vanilla bean seeds to pan and bring to a boil. Stir to combine flavors. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When syrup is reduced to 1/3 cup, remove any zest you can latch onto along with the vanilla bean and cool to room temperature.

To make the fruit salad, chop the mangoes into spoon-sized chunks. Give your strawberries the same treatment and then add the blueberries, mangoes and strawberries to a bowl large enough to hold them and add the syrup.

For most of my life, I’ve always thought fruit didn’t need sweetening. But this makes for a delicious dessert for weeknight feasts.