Beyond the Burger: Try Grilling Fruit This Summer

Summer is now upon us! And if you have a backyard I bet you have already been back there grilling. For many it’s steaks, hot dogs, burgers. For other it’s grilled veggies. But, how many of you have tried your hand at grilling fruits? It’s a great way to try something different. Something lighter and sweeter right off the grill.

Grilling causes the sugars in fruit to caramelize. The result? A nice sweetness combined with just a bit of smokiness. 

Pick Your Poison

Not every fruit is right for your grill. But plenty of them certainly are. The ideal fruits to select are ones that are barely ripe and still firm. They will be able to stand up to the heat of your grill. The best fruits to grill include:
    •    Watermelon
    •    Stone fruits like peaches, nectarines plums, apricots
    •    Pears
    •    Apples
    •    Pineapple
    •    Figs
    •    Bananas
    •    Cantaloupe

How’s It Done?

There’s no one perfect way to grill your fruits. Try different methods and different fruits and see what works for you. A little experimenting is good. And scribble down notes for yourself as you go.

To prep your fruit, cut it into slices or halves depending on the fruit. Of course, you could try to grill half a watermelon, but I wouldn’t suggest it. LOL. It’s recommended that you lightly brush on some olive oil (or coconut oil is a great choice too!) to keep the fruit from sticking to your grates. Depending on your oil it also can add a little different, interesting flavor dimension to your fruit. Experiment with it. 

There are a number of different recipes that incorporate grilled fruit. A few variations include soaking them in liquor and/or drizzling them with maple syrup or honey before grilling. Or how about some butter and a sprinkle of cinnamon and or sugar? Sounds awesome, right? (I share a few at the end of this post.)

Fruit skewers are a great idea as well. Soak wood skewers in water for about 10 minutes first, to prevent charring. Then thread chunks of prepared fruit, alternating flavors and colors. Brush with melted butter and place it on the grill. Turn it several times so it cooks evenly.

Fruit generally works best over a moderate heat or over indirect heat. Indirect heat is when you don’t place your food directly over the coals/burners, but off to the side. It gets the heat from the hot air that circulates through the grill vs. directly from the flame.

No matter how you grill them, fruits are not one of those “set it and forget it” things. Fruit doesn’t take too long to cook (3-5 minutes or 2-3 minutes per side); so stay close. You really need to keep an eye on it. If you cook them over the flame you may want to rotate them to a cooler part of the grill at least part of the time so that the outside doesn’t cook too quickly.

Get Me Started

Grilling fruit really doesn’t require a recipe. Just follow some of my tips above and go for it. But if you want to delve a little deeper and try a recipe, here are a few I would suggest to get you going:

Sure, fruit salads are great during the summer. (OK, anytime!). But why stop there? You’re out there grilling anyway, why not make full use of your grill, right? It’s time to do something new and different on your grill, kiddo! Meats? Veggies? Sure. But I would suggest making room for those fruits too! It’s a fun, creative way to add some new dimensions to your summer cooking! Grill on!

Since we're talking fruit, if you liked this post, you may also want to check these out:
- "Frank Meyer Is Lost…But His Wonderful Lemons Live On"
- "Recipe of the Week: Pear Galette"
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