August 26, 2007

Grilled Fruits 101

Any fruit - even watermelon! - can be grilled. Firm fruits (like apples, pineapples and pears) are easy to grill. Softer fruits (like peaches, plums, oranges and mango) require more attention when since they cook quickly and, if overcooked, become mushy. Basically, the softer fruit need only be heated, rather than

How to Prepare Your Fruit:

  • To prepare most fruits for grilling - such as plums, apples, peaches, apricots and pears - simply cut in half and then remove the pit or core. Pineapples and oranges do best if cut into ½ inch slices. Unpeeled bananas and plantains can be grilled whole or split in half lengthwise. Firm melons can be cubed or cut into
    wedges. Smaller fruit, such as strawberries,should be left whole.
  • Once your fruits are cut and exposed to the air they can turn brown quickly and lose nutrients, so prepare them right before grilling.
  • Fruits can be grilled with their skins on. In fact, for softer fruit - such as peaches and plums - the skin helps hold them together and maintain their shape.
  • Larger pieces of fruit can be placed directly on the grill. Smaller pieces and soft fruit can be placed on skewers or in a grill basket. (If using bamboo skewers, remember to soak them in water for at least 20 minutes to prevent them from burning).
  • Baste your fruit lightly with melted butter or a vegetable oil - or spray your grill with a non-stick cooking spray - to avoid having your fruit stick to the grill.
  • Grill your fruits on an indirect heat (i.e., use coals that have begun to die out or place your fruit on the outer edges of the grate). Be sure to clean your grill with a wire brush before cooking your fruit (the delicate flavor of the fruit would be overpowered by any remaining flavors of your steak or fish).
  • Their high water content can make your grilled fruit VERY hot. Avoid serious burns to your mouth by letting the fruit cool before eating.

Ideas to Get You Started:

  • Baste your fruit with butter or oil, then sprinkle lightly with cinnamon to enhance its flavor.
  • Lightly brush pineapple slices with olive oil, then sprinkle with a little salt to intensify the flavor.
  • To add a little extra sweetness, sprinkle a bit of brown sugar on your fruit immediately after removing it from the grill. Or try turbinado sugar.
  • You chile heads out there might prefer to sprinkle your grilled fruit with some chile powder.
  • Top your grilled fruit with some yogurt for a great breakfast! Grilled apples are great with pork or chicken; try peaches or nectarines with fish. Most fruits work well with lamb.
  • Grilled peaches and pineapples make a nice side for a grilled steak. Or try dicing them and using them for a fruit salsa!
  • Brush your pear with lemon juice; when grilled, add to a green salad.
  • Grill your lemon halves for a few minutes before squeezing them onto your grilled fish.
  • Once you have your plums halved and pitted, basted with oil, honey and orange juice. Seal in heavy duty foil and grill for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Mix blueberries, strawberries and halved peaches; baste with lemon juice and sprinkle with brown sugar. Seal in heavy duty foil and grill. Yum!
  • Got leftovers? They can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two days and served warm or chilled (as a side dish or dessert).

Ideas to End Your Meal:

  • Grilled fruits are a perfect dessert for your barbeque. They make a great topping for your favorite vanilla ice cream (or frozen yogurt).
  • Or serve that grilled fruit with cheese and crackers. If you're a chocoholic (like me), add some dark or bittersweet chocolate.
  • Crack a coconut open and slice into wedges. Grill for a total of 10 to 15 minutes, making sure to lightly brown both white sides. Once it's cooled, dip the coconut into melted chocolate (of course, I prefer dark). It reminds me of one of my favorite candy bars.