If you have never used your grill or grill pan to grill your fruit, you must try it on your Labor Day cookout. It only takes a few minutes but this dramatically transforms the flavors of the fruit, creating a spectacular dessert option for a warm summer night.
The grilling process takes fruit to another level! Grilling causes the sugars in fruits to caramelize, releasing a sweet, nutty flavor. Caramelization is a type of non-enzymatic browning reaction that involves the removal of water and the breakdown of the sugar when sugar is exposed to very high heat.
What to pair grilled fruits with: Grilled fruits pairs nicely with pork chops, bacon, cheese, can be found on salads or topped with ice cream and chocolate as a decadent dessert.
Here’s how to do it:
Put them directly on the grill
Heat the grill to medium high for at least 10 minutes and oil the grates before grilling the fruits. Brush the fruits with a little bit of olive oil (you can even buy vanilla olive oil!) to keep the fruit from sticking to the grill grates. The oil also adds another element to the flavor profile. Fruit can be grilled with prepared sauces like cinnamon, cardamom or nutmeg, a sprinkle of sugar and mild oil. Fruits don’t take that long to grill (~3 minutes per side for more watery fruits to 10 minutes for more dense fruits), so make sure you stick around while you grill it and keep the top on the grill to help tame the fire. Cut the fruit into large chunks to help it maintain its structure as it heats up and prevent them from falling in between the grates.
Here are delicious grill-able fruits that you can put directly on the grill:
Pineapple: Who doesn’t love grilled pineapples? Pineapples take about 3 minutes on the grill to cook. It is important to leave the pineapples on the grill untouched so you can create the grill marks. These pair really well with chicken or steak or made into a salsa with red onions, avocado and jalapenos.
Watermelon: Eating watermelon is a fun way to keep hydrated, especially for kids who don’t drink as much water as they should! You can grill watermelon and add to an arugula, balsamic dressing salad.
Coconut: This is a unique idea found from (source: https://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/food/best-fruits-for-grilling/slide/8). Crack the coconut into pieces and grill white side down until the flesh turns a golden brown. The flesh of the grilled coconut can then be enjoyed as a snack or dipped into chocolate.
Peaches or Nectarines: There are few summer desserts tastier than grilled peaches! Make sure you leave the skin on, cut in half and grill for a few minutes on each side. Top with ricotta, cinnamon, mint, sliced almonds and honey. You can also pair with grilled tenderloin.
Plantains/ Bananas: cut a banana or plantain in half and grill on each side for 5 minutes. These can make a sweet and savory side dish or make a delicious dessert.
Other Fruits: Apples, figs and cantaloupes! These become exponentially more delicious when cooked. Wrap in prosciutto or bacon for appetizers.
Wrap them in foil
Chop up and wrap softer fruits like apricots, strawberries, bananas and plums in a foil and grill them directly over hot coals or toss them into a fire pit for about 15 minutes. Sprinkle some cinnamon on them or crumble some gingersnap cookies for a fun dessert, like an Alton Brown’s recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/stone-fruit-pouches-recipe-1941528
Put them on a kebob
Smaller or chopped up fruits can go on skewers so you don’t lose them on the flames. Soak bamboo skewers in water for 15 minutes to keep them from burning when grilled. Then thread fruit onto the skewers, baste them with a little melted butter before cooking. Enjoy the grilled smoky flavor!
These fruits go great on skewers: bananas, strawberries, nectarines, plums, apricot, peaches and cantaloupe. Here is a great recipe you can make with your kids! http://www.superhealthykids.com/grilled-coconut-glazed-fruit-kabobs/
Enjoy and have a great holiday!
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