Summer is full of promise. Yet we can’t always rely on summer’s promises – sometimes the sun goes into hiding or it’s too humid to take our daily run. But one promise that summer never seems to fail on delivering is fruit. And even when the fruit isn’t quite up to par for eating out of hand, it can always be cooked into something amazing. Summer fruit pies instantly come to mind. But if the fat and carb content of pie stops you cold, there remains a solution: grilled summer fruit, which delivers concentrated flavor and natural caramelization without adding sugar or pie crust. I could offer you a diverse array of summer fruit recipes – grilled peaches, grilled peaches with cardamom, grilled pineapple kebobs, grilled pineapples and rum, grilled apples, grilled apples with apple pie spices, and so on, but I think it’s more likely to inspire your creativity if I offer instead this step-by-step guide to grilling summer fruit – a sort of “master” grilled summer fruit recipe.
Identify which fruit to grill:
For grilled summer fruit, you’ll want to stick with stone fruits, tropical fruits like pineapples and bananas, and late summer offerings like pears and apples. Berries tend not to stand up to grilling.
Pick your particular fruit:
Go for the pieces that aren’t perfectly ripe. This will keep your fruit from falling apart on the grill.
Cut your fruit:
For most fruits you will leave the skin on. Bananas and pineapples are an obvious exception. For most, you will simply cut in half. For fruits with seeds inside such as apples and pears, cut in half vertically and remove the pits. For bananas, slice lengthwise – or even not at all. For stone fruits, slice down the middle and remove the stone.
Soak your fruit:
Soak your fruit in water spiked with lemon (1 cup of water to 1 teaspoon of lemon juice) for 20-30 minutes. This will help your fruit retain its color and stay juicy while on the grill. Once you have cut the fruit, soak it in water to maximize the amount of liquid inside the fruit so it stays juicy on the grill.
You can add rum, bourbon or brandy to the water for flavor, if you are serving adults. And be prepared for the grill to flare up when you put the fruit on. You can add spices to your water to mimic the flavor of the “pie” you are deconstructing. For apple pie, add cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, etc. For peach pie, try a splash of vanilla or almond extract and a few crushed cardamom seeds. Or you can take an adventurous approach, pairing rosemary with pineapple or apricot or basil with banana.
Prep your grill:
Heat your grill to medium and make sure your grates are spotless – as the taste of porterhouse tends to ruin the taste of grilled peaches.
Prep your fruit:
Lightly spray or brush with oil (nut oils are a good choice here as they complement fruit, as opposed to olive oil which may not).
Grill your fruit:
Grilling times vary widely per fruit, so follow the grilling times here.
Enjoy your grilled fruit:
It will be very hot when it comes off the grill, so topping with ice cream is, well, only humane, right?
If you would like us to share specific grilled summer fruit recipes, let us know in the comments below which types of fruits you’re interested in grilling!
Photo Credit: sfllaw