With shelter-in-place and social distancing orders still in effect in many areas of the country, this Memorial Day will certainly look different than in years past. Chances are however, you’ll still be dusting off your barbecue and get grilling. While you’ll probably be making hamburgers and hot dogs, if you’re looking for something healthy, sweet and delicious, you can grill fruit.
Grilled fruit is delicious for desserts but you can also try adding a slice of grilled pineapple to hamburgers for example, or incorporating grilled fruit into appetizers and side dishes.
Like most husbands, mine is the grill master and in addition to a juicy steak, he enjoys making grilled pineapple, peaches and apples for a healthy after-dinner treat.
When you grill fruit, the flavors are simply divine. The barbecue allows the natural sugars in the fruit to caramelize, and it brings out a smoky flavor that can’t be beat.
HOW TO GRILL FRUIT
Don’t worry if you’ve never made grilled fruit because it couldn’t be easier—just follow these steps.
1. CHOOSE YOUR FRUIT
Most types of fruit can be grilled, but those that are firm and not overly ripe are best because they’re easier to handle and will stand up to the heat. Here are some types of fruit to choose:
2. WASH FRUIT BEFORE PEELING AND CUTTING
According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 48 million people each year get sick from foodborne illness from exposure to germs like norovirus, salmonella, E. coli and listeria.
Therefore, just like you would before biting into fruit or preparing it in other ways, it’s important to throughly wash it by running it under water.
If you plan to peel the fruit, you should still rinse it to prevent germs from contaminating the inside flesh. You may also consider using a produce brush to remove dirt and debris.
3. PREP FRUIT FOR THE GRILL
To ensure your fruit will hold up and can easily be flipped, cut it into large pieces and remove the pits.
For example, pineapple should be cut into large rounds, and melon into wedges or slices, instead of cubes. Likewise, peaches should be cut into halves.
Bananas should be sliced in half length-wise and you can leave the skin on so they’re easier to handle. When you grill them, place them with the skin side up.
4. CONSIDER YOUR GRILL TOOLS
While some fruit like pineapple is easy to handle on the grill with tongs, for smaller fruits, you may need the right gear to make it easier.
For example, strawberries, figs, and peaches can be put on skewers. Using skewers is also a great way to get your kids involved and excited about cooking and empower them to eat healthy.
If you’re using wood skewers or thin bamboo skewers, be sure to soak them for at least 20 minutes.
You can also use a grill pan like this one from Mr. BBQ which makes it easy to cook small fruits like apples and pears.
For super-small, more delicate fruits like cherries, you can wrap the fruit in tin foil and grill it that way.
5. LIGHTLY GREASE YOUR GRILL WITH A NEUTRAL OIL
To prevent fruit from sticking, grease the grates with a bit of oil on a cloth or paper towel. You can also brush some oil on the fruit itself.
Yet pick a neutral oil to avoid altering the flavor of the fruit. Good choices include safflower, grapeseed, vegetable, or canola or use unsalted butter.
6. GRILL FRUIT AFTER YOUR MAIN DISHES
To prevent the fruit from sticking, add it after you’ve grilled your main protein and vegetables. If the grill has been off for awhile, be sure to pre-heat it for a few minutes.
Also, make sure the grates are scraped and cleaned so your fruit doesn’t taste like the burgers you just made.
7. ADD A KICK OF FLAVOR
You can add even more flavor to grilled fruit with sweet spices like cinnamon or make it spicy with chili pepper, for example.
Since grilling brings out fruit’s natural sugars and sweetness, it’s probably not necessary to use honey, maple syrup, and other added sugars.
8. GRILL FRUIT QUICKLY
After you place your fruit on the grill, let it sit for about 1-3 minutes.
Thicker fruits like pineapple will take longer than softer fruits like berries and peaches, for example. When the fruit is hot, or you can see grill marks, it’s ready.
If your grill has a top rack, you may choose to place the fruit there to prevent overcooking, however, you probably won’t get those coveted grill marks.
For most fruits, you can leave the grill open while the fruit cooks.
However, if you’re cooking apples on a grill pan for example, you can close the grill which works like a convection oven.
TRY THESE GRILLED FRUIT RECIPES
Grilled fruit is delicious on its own, but if you’re looking for some recipes, try these.
1. GRILLED PINEAPPLE
With a few simple ingredients you probably have on hand, this Brown Sugar Grilled Pineapple is a delicious addition to your Memorial Day spread, or as an after-dinner treat for your kids all summer long.
2. GRILLED PEACHES
Nothing feels more like summer than peaches and this Grilled Peaches Recipe With Mascarpone and Honey is delightful. Simply brush each peach halve with oil, sprinkle with brown sugar and cook for 5-7 minutes. Serve alone or with the mascarpone and honey and enjoy.
3. GRILLED FIGS
Growing up in a predominately Italian-American neighborhood in Yonkers, NY, many of the homes had fig trees in their yards.
While our family didn’t, figs are still one of my favorite fruits—and one that you can grill.
This Easy Grilled Figs Stuffed with Brie and Honey recipe is great as an appetizer or as an after-dinner treat. Not only are they simple to pull together—they only take 20 minutes—but they look so fancy everyone will think you spent hours on it.
4. GRILLED NECTARINES
Grilled nectarines are healthy and delicious on their own, but if you’re looking for something a bit more special, try this recipe for Grilled Nectarines With Greek Yogurt, Pistachios and Mint.
With Greek yogurt and pistachios, this dish has 5 grams of protein so if it’s the only thing your kid eats, it’s not a big deal.
5. GRILLED PEACHES AND CHERRIES
If you’re out of chocolate sauce or simply looking for a delicious and decadent dessert, try this recipe for Grilled Peaches and Cherries With Cinnamon-Honey Syrup. You can serve it alone or with a scoop of ice cream—either way it will be a hit with the whole family.