Ripe For Grilling

Ripe For Grilling
By Jennifer A. Wickes
Photos by Lori Maffei

Grilling fruit is a great way to make exciting desserts during the summer heat. It’s easy; you don’t need to turn on the oven and heat up the house, and it really brings out the best in fruit, carmelizing its natural sugar content while reducing its water content.

All you need toget is a bowl, melted butter (or non-hydrogenated margarine like Earth Balance), spring-loaded tongs, ice water, lemon or lime juice, a hot grill and a spray bottle of water.

Some tips before you start:

-> Any fruit can be used. Harder fruits, like apples, are easier to prepare because you only need to cut them in half and remove the core.

-> Keep edible skins on fruits while grilling. This helps maintain their shape.

-> Softer fruits, like peaches, take less time to cook. If they are over-cooked they will turn mushy.

-> You can flavor the water you will soak your fruit in by boiling it with spices such as cinnamon, star anise, cloves, mint or citrus zest. Then chill. Add lemon juice and soak your fruit for a minimum of two hours.

-> Use a cookie cutter on large pieces to add some visual appeal (as well as appealing to kids).

* Not allowed to grill on your deck at your apartment? Don’t have a grill at all? Fear not – this can be done with a grill pan on your stovetop.

STEP 1

Cut fruit into large slices or wedges. Soak it for a minimum of 30 minutes in a bowl of iced water and lemon juice, using 1 teaspoon of lemon juice for every cup of water. The lemon helps the fruit maintain its color, while the fruit absorbs more water before grilling. (You may want to put smalled pieces on skewers. If you use wooden skewers, remember to soak those, too – but they don’t need the lemon.)

STEP 2

Make sure your grill is clean, I don’t know about you, but I prefer my fruit tasting like fruit, as opposed to some garlic infused previous meal. Brush the grill with a margarine or mild-flavored oil, so it won’t stick to the grill. (If it’s easier, you can do this to the fruit – as long as something is oiled so the fruit won’t stick.) Cook over medium heat for 2 to 5 minutes per side. Use your spray bottle to put out any flare-ups.

NOW WHAT?

Now that you have grilled fruit. you might be wondering what to do with it. Fruit is sweeter when it’s grilled, so you can use it anywhere:

* Brushed lightly with lemon juice or honey.
* Dipped in yogurt.
* In a grilled-apple pie.
* In a fruit salad.
* With whipped cream.
* On top of ice cream, pound cake or pancakes.
* In some combination of the above!

Fruit Suggestions:

Star fruit, pineapple, bananas, kiwifruits, strawberries, oranges, peaches, apples, plums, mangoes, papayas and nectarines.

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