Grilled Fruits 101

Forget the ice cream and cake this summer and explore the endless possibilities of wholesome, fiber and antioxidant rich fruits. The summertime bounty of mouth-watering, juicy, yummy goodness is certainly delicious when we eat them in their unadulterated form, but grilling them is literally, easier-than-pie. Grilled fruit desserts will jaw-drop-wow your friends and family; so for their benefit, do your best to make it look much harder than it actually is!

So, which fruits are best on the grill?

The perfect fruit for the grill is firm and just barely ripened. Too ripe and they won’t hold their shape or much flavor once heated.Tropical fruits do extremely well. Pineapple is definitely one of the best choices.. It holds up well and the juicy, tart, sweetness really bursts when heated. Mangoes, papayas and bananas are excellent too. So are stone fruits like peaches and nectarines, apples, and pears. You can grill the hard fuyu persimmons, but not their soft cousins the hachiya. Melons also grill well, especially watermelon. Make sure your watermelon is not too mealy. Remember, just ripe is best so that it’s still firm.

Citrus fruits generally do not do well on the grill. However, you can marinate your other fruits in lemon, lime and orange juices. Also not recommended are grapes, cherries or berries—although some big strawberries can stand a bit of the heat.

When grilling plain, brush the fruit with a light coating of oil. This helps keep it from sticking to the grill. Coconut oil is highly recommended. You can also soak your fruit in a marinade before grilling. Liquors play off of the juice really well. A simple marinade for pineapple: ½ cup dark rum, ½ cup fresh orange juice, juice of 1 lime, 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup and a dash of cinnamon. Soak thick slices of pineapple in the marinade for 2-3 hours before grilling. Vodka and maple syrup with lime also works well with most fruit.

Thick slices work for pineapple, mango, papaya. Otherwise, you’ll generally just want to halve – or you can cube your fruit and skewer for fun fruit kabobs. Place fruits directly over moderately hot coals. Rotate or move them to cooler parts of the grill during cooking as necessary to keep from burning the outside.

Keep in touch with Jil on Twitter @jillettinger

Photo: mccun934