Summertime is the perfect time to head outside and fire up the grill. You have meat and vegetables on the grill, but what about the fruit? Grilling caramelizes the natural sugars in fruit, concentrating the flavor and making fruit a delicious and nutritious appetizer, side dish or dessert.
Almost any fruit can be put on the grill; hard fruits like pears, apples and pineapples are easiest to grill since they hold their shape and texture. Softer fruits, like peaches and mangoes, require more attention when grilling since they can become mushy and fall apart if cooked too long.
Grilling fruits is easy and takes little time to prepare. Follow this simple process to grill the perfect fruit of your choice:
1. Cut the fruit in half and remove any seeds and cores. Leave the peels on the fruit, which holds the fruit together while grilling.
2. Soak the fruit in water for 20-30 minutes so the fruit can hold in as much moisture as it can. This way, the fruit will remain juicy and won’t dry out on the grill.
3. On a clean cooking grate, grill fruit over medium heat. You can spray the grate or fruit with some cooking oil, or brush the fruit with butter to keep it from sticking to the grill.
4. To add even more flavor, when soaking the fruit add spices to the water like cinnamon, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger. Spices can be added to the butter before brushing on the fruit.
Grilled fruit can be eaten simply by itself, added to a salad, tossed in a salsa, or pureed into a sauce. With the endless amounts of ways you can eat grilled fruit and the simple preparation, it is an easy way to liven up meals with delicious, grilled fruit. Plus, eating fruit is a great way to get enough servings of fruit on a daily basis.
Written by: Lauren Von Drashek- Dietetic Intern, Brown County UW-Extension