Acid is the answer
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EC: Why You Should Put Vinegar on Your Fruit
Credit: Photo by DonatellaTandelli via Getty Images

If you haven't been putting vinegar on your fruit, I'm jealous of you because your life is about to be like that part in The Wizard of Oz where everything goes from black and white to color. Like you're tasting something familiar, but more brightly and joyously than you ever have before. I've pontificated at you before about putting salt on your fruit and I stand by that. My views on that have not wavered but I realize that in my enthusiasm over the salt part, acid got short shrift. I'm so sorry, acid. Allow me to make that up to you.

What I did say at the time was this: A little splash of balsamic vinegar on strawberries or stone fruit is like seeing the face of your long-gone childhood dog as it scampers across a butterfly-filled meadow and knowing with all your heart that they're chasing their bliss into eternity.

Lemme unpack that. Fruit, for the most part, is sweet. I'm not telling you anything that bears and monkeys didn't figure out many millennia ago, but there's a reason that very few of them have opened restaurants: They're not so much with the sophisticated flavor balancing. (Or paperwork, establishing relationships with vendors, and not pooping on the dining room floor.) Sweet is glorious, and naturally sweet even more so, but it's even better when it's got something to play against.

Look toward acid for that. If you're skeeved by the idea of drizzling vinegar on your strawberries, peaches, melon, mango, raspberries, or whatever you brought home from the market, a squeeze of lemon or lime will do, but really, it's a special thing. Think about shrub for a second; it's fruit-infused vinegar that you drink, and it's been around for a few centuries now. This is just flipping the ratio a little bit. You don't have to go wacky and make fruit pickles or anything (though pickled peaches and pickled watermelon rind are pretty much edible sunshine in a jar). A little spritz will do, and it needn't even be schmancy. Apple cider vinegar gets the job just fine and if you don't like it, don't do it again. My feelings will not be hurt, and I won't actually know unless you @ me. (Feel free to @ me.)

But maybe you'll like it. You might sprinkle a little vinegar on your next bowl of berries and think hey, this flavor feels like it's turned up to 11! And you'll saunter off into the rest of your day with a smile on your face and a little pep in your step and everything will be just a little bit brighter. You may even find this little trick bears repeating.