Grilled fruit recipes are a delicious addition to your summer meal repertoire--sweet-smoky combinations of flavors that are perfect for simple dinners and fancy backyard parties.
How to Grill Fruit
Start by choosing your fruits wisely. Select fresh, organic fruits that are ripe or almost-ripe. In general, delicate fruits and fruits with a high water content (except watermelon) may not work too well on the grill. You can grill your fruit in several different ways:
Pineapples, watermelons, cantaloupes, honeydew melons, mangoes, papaya, carambolas and other tropical fruits are perfect choices for the fire. Cut thick, steak-like slices and throw them right on the grill. Fibrous fruits like pears, apples and quince also work well cut into slices or wedges and tossed on the grill. Slices should be the same thickness and overall size for the best results. You can also skewer any of these fruits, just cut them into slightly smaller chunk-size pieces.
Stone fruits will grill best when threaded onto a skewer. Since they are usually smaller, they can get lost falling through the grate. Choose bamboo skewers or reusable metal skewers for peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots, grapes, kiwi, and cherries. Remove the pits, and then thread the chunks together on a skewer to make a fruit kabob. Don’t crowd the pieces – they need a little bit of space between to cook properly. If you’re using bamboo or wooden skewers, soak them in water for 15 minutes before you thread the fruit to prevent burning.
Apples, pears, quince, and stone fruits can also be simply sliced in half and grilled.
Fruits that don’t grill well directly include most types of berries and citrus – they tend to fall apart too easily. But you can still grill oranges and strawberries. Just create a foil packet to hold everything together, and place the entire package over low flames.
In the Peel
Bananas can actually be grilled right in their own peeling. Just use a gentle touch when turning them over.
Once you’ve chosen your fruit, you’re ready for the fire:
- Start by cleaning your grill very well with a metal brush, followed by a cloth or paper towel. You don’t want charred bits of yesterday’s savory supper sticking to your fruit kabobs. Some people like to brush the grill lightly with vegetable oil to prevent the grilled fruit from sticking.
- Prepare your fruit. Wash your fruit (and peel it if desired), and remove inedible portions like seeds, pits, pith or stems. You may want to drizzle your fruit with your favorite liqueur, or a mixture of honey and cinnamon.
- Grill your fruits on direct medium to high heat for about five to ten minutes, or until tender. The exact length of time will depend on the types of fruit you use, and the size of your chunks. Turn your fruit every three to five minutes while cooking. Here are some basic guidelines for cooking times:
- Strawberries/blueberries/blackberries: 3 minutes
- Mangoes: 3-5 minutes
- Apples or pears: 10 minutes
- Banana in the peel: 10-12 minutes
- Fruits in foil packets: 15 to 20 minutes
- Enjoy your grilled fruits on their own, or try one of the following ideas:
- Drizzle with chocolate sauce
- Sprinkle with lime juice and chili powder
- Top with vanilla ice cream
- Eat alongside angel food cake
- Fill up a crepe or layer between pancakes
- Dust with toasted coconut and brown sugar
- Dollop with fresh whipped cream
- Blend into a summery cocktail
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Grilled fruit image via Shutterstock