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Layers of Flavor Fruit Salad

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

When was the last time anyone waxed poetic about your or anyone else's fruit salad?  We are confident that today’s Tasty Tuesday recipe will change that. Any mixture of five or more brilliantly colored fruits will do. 

We used both red and yellow cherries, peaches, blueberries, bananas and strawberries.

The secret is the simple syrup dressing, which is a bit sweet, a bit hot, and deeply fragrant from star anise and fresh herbs. Star anise deliciously complements simple syrup, and the serrano chilli adds an aftertaste surprise layer of enticing heat.

The syrup recipe makes more than you will need so keep it in your refrigerator for a week or more.  It’s perfect on any fruit, and particularly good on warm late spring or early summer days and nights.

The fresh herb duo, tarragon and basil, is complex enough to carry the fruit salad, but we loved the savory richness of added feta or goat cheese as a garnish.

 If mellow is your preference, try dollops of mascarpone, fresh ricotta, or burrata cheese.



½ cup granulated sugar

1 serrano chilli, chopped fine

1 whole dried star anise (*Chinese)

¾ cup water

¼ cup orange or lemon juice

Fruits and herbs

7 to 8 cups mixed cut fruit, like kiwi, peaches, plums, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, mango, pineapple, oranges, grapefruit, pears or bananas

2 tablespoons chopped tarragon

2 tablespoons chopped basil

Flaky sea salt, to taste (consider Fleur De Sel)

Black pepper, to taste

Feta, goat, mascarpone or ricotta for garnish (optional)


Place sugar, three quarters cup water, one quarter cup citrus juice, chile and star anise in a small pot and bring to a boil. 

Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until the mixture is as thick as maple syrup and spicy tasting. Strain syrup.

Toss fruit with one third of the sugar syrup, the fresh tarragon and the basil. Add more syrup ttaste, depending on how sweet and spicy you want the salad. Season very lightly with salt and pepper. If desired, garnish with the sweet or salty cheese of your choice.

Nutritional value

Star anise is a nutritional powerhouse with amazing antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties.  A Taiwanese study published in 2010 suggested  that four antimicrobial compounds in star anise were effective against nearly 70 strains of drug-resistant bacteria. Star anise tea is consumed regularly in South East Asian countries as an after dinner digestive.  

Enjoy and live well.

Ellen Troyer and the Biosyntrx staff

*In 20003 the FDA issued a warning regarding the consumption of some star anise teas. Chinese star anise is regarded safe, while Japanese star anise contains a toxic compound called silimitoxin. We recommend you check the source of the star anise you purchase.