We’ve not had a lot of brilliant weather in the UK lately. I live in the north of England in Lancashire, and while it’s mostly a good place to live we do get our fair share of bad weather in relation to the rest of the country. As such we have to make use of any sun as soon as it pops its rarely seen head out from underneath the murky clouds (Ok, the weather isn’t THAT bad. I don’t mean it to sound like Mordor!). So, a few weeks back the sun came out and we immediately rushed outside the set-up the barbecue and get the most out of it. We had to pop to our local supermarket to get the meat, and it was there it was suggested we try grilling fruit.
Now I know that fruit can make an appearance at a barbecue, but I’ve always seen it as something to have afterwards to sweeten the palate after consuming all that meat. Then I remembered that it’s not like we don’t eat fruit with other meat. Gammon steak with pineapple slices is one of my favourite meals, so grilling fruit isn’t odd in any way. In fact, grilling fruit is a brilliant idea, and it provides a tasty treat to go alongside all the meat you’ll be throwing on the Barbie.
Why Grill Fruit?
The simple answer is that it’s got a great taste, but obviously you want a little more than that. Grilling fruit brings out the natural sugars hidden inside, reducing the water yet retaining the natural sugar flavours to give a sweet caramelised treat to alongside your meat, or to be eaten as a dessert. All you need is sliced fruit, water and cooking oil to cook your basic grilled fruit, but what type of fruit should you be using?
The Best Fruit to Grill
When you’re out looking for fruit to grill you need to be fully aware of the condition of the fruit you’re buying. Go for fresh and firm pieces that aren’t overly ripe, with no bruising. You should also go for fruits that are high in natural sugars to begin with, and fruits that are capable of maintaining their shape and texture whilst cooking on the grill.
As such harder fruits like pears, apples and pineapples are the best fruit to grill. Softer fruits, including plums, peaches and nectarines, will be too mushy if you overcook them, so if you do decide to go down this route you need to pay close attention whilst they’re cooking. Bananas are another choice, although as a soft fruit you should keep them in their skins whilst grilling.
Grilling the Fruit
For the majority of fruits you can cut them in half, although you should leave the skins on (such as the peel on a banana) to help the fruit hold together whilst cooking. Larger fruits and citrus fruits should be cut into large slices so that they’re flesh is exposed to the flame. Smaller fruits, such as strawberries and grapes, can be put on skewers or into a grill pan.
Before grilling you should also soak the fruit in water, thereby maximising the amount of liquid in the fruit so that it doesn’t lose its juiciness while grilling. Cover the fruit with cold water and leave for about half an hour, adding a teaspoon of lemon juice to each cup of water used to help preserve the colour. You can also try adding spices like cinnamon into the water to give the fruit that extra kick! After you’ve drained the water away it’s also recommended brushing olive oil on the fruit before popping on the grill, as this way it keeps the fruit from sticking to your grill.
Make sure you use a clean grill for the fruit grilling process, as it’s not a nice taste to mix burnt meat drippings with something you’re intending to be sweet. Cleaning equipment is thankfully inexpensive, so you’ve got no excuse not to give it a good clean. The majority of fruits will only need about 3-4 minutes per side, but you need to be constantly aware of the state of the fruit so you don’t end up burning it.
A great marinating for grilled fruit is to mix together rum, brown sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon, although you can choose whatever combination of spices and alcohols you desire. Be careful using alcohol around the grill, although it does cause an impressive flare if you let a tiny bit splash on to the flame. There are a million things you can do with grilled fruit, experiment and have fun!
Grilled Fruit Recipes
We’ve taken a look around and picked our favourite grilled fruit recipes. Just click the links below and find out how to create some delicious barbecue fruit delights!
Pineapple Satays with Coconut Caramel – Grill your pineapple, smother it with caramel sauce and top it off with coconut. Yum!
Grilled Fruit Kabobs – A skewered mixture of strawberries, peaches, plums, bananas and a helping of honey. The perfect summer dessert!
Grilled Pears – Simple to grill, and delicious with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Marinated Grilled Apples with Mint – A great side dish for pork and chicken.
Grilled Apples with Cheese and Honey – A bit of an odd one, but apparently really tasty.
If you’ve had enough of grilling fruit on the barbecue for a while (are you mad?!?) then why not try grilling vegetables on the barbecue instead?