summer fruit salad with mint sugar

Here we are, almost in the middle of July, and it seems like summer is almost over. The advertisements for sales on school back packs and lunch boxes and school uniforms aren’t helping the matter any. My work is plugging away, and my husband added on an extra day of work himself.

It seems like time is just rushing by. And I seriously wish it would just. slow. down.

I saw this salad in a 2004 issue of Gourmet magazine, and I knew it would help to slow things down at least for a day. Chock full of summer fruits, I knew this would be the perfect remedy for my time-is-moving-too-quickly blues.

The recipe calls for peaches or nectarines, blackberries or cherries, and grapes. But really, you can customize it however you like. I used fragrant peaches, sweet cherries, a handful of blueberries, and seedless red grapes.

The secret – well, not terribly secret – ingredient that makes this salad just stunning is the mint sugar. After tasting it alone and in the salad, I’m wracking my brain trying to come up with more uses for it. It would be great with citrus or watermelon, for example. And there may be some real possibilities with cocktails. Perhaps mint sugar on the rim of a glass of refreshing mojito? Hmm…

My kids both had three servings each of this summer fruit salad. My daughter now thinks I’m the BEST COOKER EVER for making this for her. And you know what? This salad does make me look like pretty darn good cook.

Yield: Serves 6.

Summer Fruit Salad with Mint Sugar

This salad disappears QUICK. You may want to make extra.


1/4 cup loosely-packed fresh mint, washed and dried thoroughly
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 pounds cherries, pitted and halved
3 firm-ripe peaches (or nectarines), halved lengthwise, pitted, and cut into 1/3-inch thick wedges.
1/2 pound seedless red grapes (1 1/2 cups), halved


Pulse mint and sugar in a food processor until finely ground.
Combine fruit in large bowl and sprinkle with mint sugar. Toss gently to combine. Let stand 5 minutes prior to serving.

Recipe only slightly tweaked from this one in Gourmet magazine, July 2004.

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9 Responses to “strawberry shortcakes”

  1. Mmmmm… these strawberry shortcakes look divine and I’m loving the sound of that balsamic and black pepper syrup sauce.

    • Merry-Jennifer

      Merry-Jennifer replied: — April 9th, 2014 @ 5:22 pm

      Thanks, Rochelle. They were pretty amazing.

  2. Jennifer C. — April 9, 2014 @ 10:39 am

    I’m a chocolate milkshake kind of girl too but…when at Steak N Shake…I have to go vanilla…all the way! They really are the best! Nothing better than dipping those hot greasy fries in that cold sweet shake! Great! Now I have to drive an hour to the nearest Steak N Shake to get my fix! Thanks!

    • Merry-Jennifer

      Merry-Jennifer replied: — April 9th, 2014 @ 5:22 pm

      Great. And now I’M craving Steak ‘n Shake. 😉

  3. Paula — April 9, 2014 @ 11:44 am

    If forced to make a choice between strawberries or chocolate, I’m always going to choose the chocolate! Having said that, I would not turn up my nose at your homemade strawberry shortcakes. This is the way to make and serve this dessert!

    • Merry-Jennifer

      Merry-Jennifer replied: — April 9th, 2014 @ 5:23 pm

      Hooray – another chocolate fan! I love that we’re alike on this point, Paula.

  4. Renee - Kudos Kitchen — April 10, 2014 @ 9:01 am

    That Strawberry balsamic and black pepper sauce really puts these over the top for me! They sound heavenly!

  5. lucy — April 16, 2014 @ 11:41 am

    We are a chocolate-loving family as well, something all five of us agree on! But gaining in-laws allows me to see that the rest of the world does like to diversify 🙂 Your strawberry shortcake recipe is similar to mine, but I love the addition of the strawberry balsamic sauce. I am going to try that next time!

  6. Mallory — May 1, 2014 @ 1:20 pm

    Growing up – we were a store bought shortcake dessert loving family as well – those sponge cakes are nostalgic at best …these days I tend more towards a shortbread or shortcake..depending on which brother is requesting the dessert. Going to make your strawberry balsamic and black pepper sauce – seems delightful!

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