Make room for grilled fruit!
If you’ve never tried grilling fruit, what are you waiting for? Why should vegetables get all the attention? Orange you glad I asked?
Similar to grilled vegetables, grilled fruits will become sweeter as their sugars concentrate and caramelize. There are multiple ways to use grilled fruit. But first, "lettuce" discuss the basics.
What to grill
Typically, bigger fruit is best for grilling including apples, bananas, melon, and pineapple. Stone fruits like avocados, peaches, and nectarines also work well. The fruit should be firm and not too ripe. Smaller fruit like berries, grapes, or cherries can be placed on skewers before grilling.
Fruit should be cut into big chunks or slices. This helps it keep its structure when the fruit meets the heat. Bigger pieces will also survive the grates and not fall through your grill. Use a grill basket if you’re concerned with losing fruit.
Some like it hot
Preheat your grill to medium-high for about 10 minutes prior to grilling. Get rid of previously grilled tidbits and lightly grease the grates before grilling your fruit. Canola, corn, or other neutral oil may be used.
Let it be
Similar to grilling meat, grilled fruit should be left alone and not jostled around when being cooked. If you move it too much, it won’t sear and you’ll miss out on those desirable grill marks. Since fruit contains sugar, some sticking to the grill may happen.
Put a lid on it
Just like thicker cuts of meat taking longer to cook, larger pieces of fruit will, too. Pineapple will need more grill time than citrus fruit or peaches. Put the lid on the grill to help larger fruits cook through and check every 3 to 5 minutes for doneness.
With the exception of avocados and bananas, most fruit contains a fair amount of juice. When heated, they’ll lose water. To lock in the juice of grilled fruit, line a grill pan with aluminum foil or use a rimmed baking sheet when grilling your favorites.
Grilled citrus is great with fish, chicken, or other protein but can also be used as a garnish for desserts and drinks. Sprinkle some granulated sugar on the sliced side of citrus fruit before adding them to your grill. This caramelizes the fleshy fruit and prevents the rinds from sticking to the grill. You can also throw half of a lemon or lime on the grill. Squeeze out the juicy fruit on chicken, fish, or veggies, right at the grill!
Now that we’ve gotten to the ‘core’ of how to grill fruit, below are tips to use it!
- Use grilled apples, peaches, or pears in oatmeal or other breakfast cereal.
- Add grilled grapes or cherries to chicken, tuna, or spinach salad.
- Wrap grilled melon or peaches with chicken strips in a whole wheat tortilla.
- Serve grilled avocado or pineapple with your favorite bean or veggie burger.
- Top grilled pork or chicken with grilled peaches or apples.
- Layer grilled fruit with yogurt and granola for a delicious dessert.
- Make grilled fruit kabobs with mini marshmallows for a sweet treat.
By Lisa Andrews, MEd, RD, LD
Lisa Andrews, MEd, RD, LD, is a registered dietitian and owner of Sound Bites Nutrition in Cincinnati. She shares her clinical, culinary, and community nutrition knowledge through cooking demos, teaching, and freelance writing. Lisa is a regular contributor to Food and Health Communications and Today’s Dietitian and is the author of the Healing Gout Cookbook, Complete Thyroid Cookbook, and Heart Healthy Meal Prep Cookbook. Her line of food pun merchandise, Lettuce beet hunger, supports those suffering food insecurity in Cincinnati. For more information, visit her website: https://soundbitesnutrition.com/