Grilled fruit: Sizzling and savory
Add grilled fruit to your meal. Fruits are easy to grill and hold their shape and texture while cooking.
Autumn is the perfect time to fire up the grill and savor the sweetness of fruit that can be enhanced by fire and heat. When choosing fruit for grilling it is best to pick a fresh, firm fruit that is just short of being ripe. The fruit needs to be solid enough to hold together and maintain its texture as the sugars in the fruit caramelize over the fire, picking up the grill flavor making any fruit ready to eat in minutes. Fruit, such as apples, pears and pineapples are the easiest to grill since they hold their shape and texture while cooking. However, softer fruits like peaches, nectarines and plums will become soft and mushy if overcooked.
The process is simple. You need sliced fruit, water and cooking oil to make the most basic grilled fruit. This will yield a quick and easy addition to any meal whether it is as an appetizer, side dish or dessert.
- Cut the fruit and soak it in water to maximize the amount of liquid inside the fruit so it will stay juicy on the grill.
- Completely cover the fruit in cold water, adding one teaspoon of lemon juice to each cup of water to preserve its color; soak in the lemon water for 20 to 30 minutes. Add ice to keep the water cold.
- Grill fruit over medium heat on a clean cooking grate. This will ensure the flavors of the fruit won’t be diminished by other flavors or burnt oil. Lightly spray the fruit with cooking oil or brush them with melted butter. Many oils, like olive oil have too strong of a flavor for fruit, so pick something that will compliment, but not overpower it.
Michigan State University Extension reminds consumers to keep food safety in mind when grilling fruit: Wash all whole fruits before preparing them, even if the skin or rind is not eaten. This prevents pathogens from transferring from the rind or skin to the inside of the fruit when it is cut. Once the fruit has been cut or peeled, it should be refrigerated within two hours. If fresh produce it is left at room temperature for more than two hours, throw it out.
Grilled fruit will be perfect added flavor for any course. To enhance the flavor of the fruit even more, add spices to the water the fruit soaks in and increase the soaking time. An example could be adding a stick of cinnamon into a bowl of soaking apples to enhance the flavor. You can also add spices like nutmeg, allspice, cloves or ginger to the melted butter used to brush the fruit. Since fruit is naturally high in sugar you won’t typically need to add any. If you do add sugar, be careful as sugar burns quickly and easily.
For recipes try the United States Department of Agriculture recommended fruit kabobs as a quick idea. Below is another recipe to try, using Michigan’s fall harvest apples.
3 honey crisp apples, cut into 3/4 inch circle slices
3 tablespoons of melted butter
3 teaspoons of cinnamon
2 tablespoons of honey
- Brush your apple slices with the melted butter on both sides.
- Grill your apples indirectly for about six minutes on each side, or until grill marks magically appear.
- As soon as you pull them off the grill, sprinkle the top of the apples with cinnamon, and drizzle honey on them.
Before the winds of winter send the grill covered and to the back of the yard, consider the great taste possibilities by complementing your family’s meal with the sweetness of grilled fruit.