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To create a fruit salad with great fruit flavor, we had to rewrite a few rules. We found it hard to judge the proper amount of sugar when it was added directly to the salad, so we macerated each fruit in just the amount needed to release its natural juices; we balanced the sweetness with fresh lime juice. But first, we mashed the sugar with orange zest and cardamom (in bartending circles, this process is called muddling) to ensure even flavor distribution in our fruit salad.
- 4 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cardamom
- 3 medium nectarines (about 6 ounces each), pitted and cut into ½-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
- 9 ounces large green grapes, halved pole to pole (about 2 cups)
- 1 pint blueberries, picked over
- 1 - 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (see note)
- Combine sugar, zest, and cardamom in large bowl. Using rubber spatula, press mixture into side of bowl until sugar becomes damp, about 30 seconds. Gently toss fruit with sugar mixture until combined. Let stand at room temperature, stirring occasionally, until fruit releases its juices, 15 to 30 minutes. Stir in lime juice to taste and serve.