Open-flame cooking brings out the best flavor in just about every food. When you grill vegetables and fruits, their natural sugars caramelize and they taste even sweeter. Many favorite fruits are fast and easy to grill, and they make a deliciously different ingredient, side dish, snack, or treat. Because they are nutrient-rich, filled with fiber, and low to medium on the Glycemic Index, fresh fruits are SmartCarbs you can enjoy without impeding progress toward your weight loss goal. Just be sure to consult your Grocery Guide for proper portion sizes.
Ready to try grilled fruit? Here are a few tips for success with all fruits and hints for enjoying 10 great tastes of the season:
Basket, Pan or Skewers
The grates that came with your grill are shaped for cooking meat, but less substantial ingredients, such as pieces of fruit, are prone to falling through as they heat up. When grilling fruit, put it in a wire basket or on a tray with small holes that allow the flames to touch the food but keep it from falling through. Another fun option: soak wooden skewers (like those used for kebabs) in water for 30 minutes, poke them through the fruit, then put them on the grill.
Fruit cooks quickly on the grill and within minutes small pieces can begin to disintegrate. Cut it it in large chunks, even if you need to slice it down to bite-size before serving.
Spraying cut fruit with zero-calorie cooking spray, or tossing cut fruit with a little olive or coconut oil or butter before grilling helps bring out its flavor and prevents the pieces from sticking to the basket, pan or grates. Avoid drenching the food in fats, which can lead to a grease fire. Just coat it lightly.
Low, Indirect Heat
Cooking over high flames can leave you with burned fruit in a matter of minutes. Better to grill fruit on the outer edges of the grates or over coals that have turned gray.
Fruits contain a lot of water, which becomes extremely hot when grilling. Allow it to cool after removing it from the heat before eating so that scorchingly hot water doesn’t squirt out and burn your mouth when you bite into it.
So now that you know the HOW of grilling fruit, here’s the WHAT:
Slice in half and remove the pits. For more flavor, brush with honey and sprinkle them with cinnamon. Put peach halves on the grill with the cut side down and cook for eight to 10 minutes, until fruit is hot throughout.
Like peaches, cut in half and remove the pits before cooking. Leave on the grill for four to six minutes, until the flesh is tender but not crumbling.
Peel, cut into quarters and remove the core and seeds. Sprinkle with lemon juice to keep the cut pieces from turning brown. Grill for 20 minutes, turning every five minutes.
Slice into wedges, cutting away the stem, core, and visible seeds. Brush with coconut oil and sprinkle with a little sea salt. Cook for 15 minutes, turning every three to five minutes.
Snip the tiny stem end off each fig and cut in half lengthwise. Coat in a light mixture of lemon juice, honey, and cinnamon. Grill for two to three minutes on each side.
Go with seedless varieties, if you can. Cut melon into thick wedges or one-inch-wide rounds. Grill for two to three minutes per side.
Slice into one inch wide wedges with the rind still attached and discard seeds. Or cut into cubes (with rind removed) and slide them on to skewers. Cook for four to six minutes, turning frequently.
Cut pineapple into wedges with the skin still on the edges or remove the skin and core and slice into rings. Grill for about three minutes per side.
Peel banana and slice in half lengthwise. Grill for two minutes per side.
Cut the fruit in half, pick out any visible seeds with a fork or your fingertip, and brush the cut sides lightly with oil. Set them cut-side down on the grill and cook for about three minutes, until the fruit is lightly charred. Squeeze onto grilled chicken, fish or vegetables.