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Sweet Sensation: Grilling Fruit Turns the Everyday into Awesome

grilled peaches with text

Move over, burgers and hot dogs—it’s time to share the grill with summer’s abundant fresh fruit! Grilling caramelizes fruit’s natural sugars, giving your produce decadent flavor and a unique flair that will delight wee ones and grown-up gourmands alike. Use grilled fruit to add a sweet and healthy sizzle to sunny-season salads, side dishes, and (of course) dessert.

The process could not be easier:

1) Slice fruit in half or into thick wedges or rounds, and then lightly brush the cut sides with olive oil (if you don’t have a pastry or basting brush, a paper towel or old toothbrush will work, too). Alternatively, you can brush your grill surface with oil—but avoid using a spray oil while the grill is hot to prevent dangerous flare-ups.

2) Place fruit cut-side-down on a hot grill and cook until it’s just tender with nicely charred grill lines. The exact timing will depend on the type of fruit chosen and your personal taste, but in general, you’re looking at around 2–6 minutes per side or 5–10 minutes if you grill only one side. Summer is all about cooking outdoors on a charcoal or gas grill—but if you don’t have one (or it’s winter and you just want the taste of summer), using a grill pan on high heat in your kitchen will also yield yummy results.

grilled watermelon

Fruits to choose:

The options are almost limitless: Peaches, plums, nectarines, apricots, watermelon, mangos, figs, bananas, strawberries, and those veggie imposters (tomatoes) all do great when they get their grill on. Whatever you select, make sure it’s ripe but firm—overripe or soft fruits won’t hold their shape in high heat.

Take your grilling adventure a step further and experiment with various seasonings and marinades to create one-of-a-kind culinary delights! Popular ones include: cinnamon and sugar; balsamic vinegar, molasses, and pepper; and maple syrup, orange juice, nutmeg, and cardamom.

When ready, serve your grilled goodies as-they-are, chopped, or topped. We love peach halves with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and toasted hazelnuts; pineapple rounds with whipped coconut cream, honey, and sliced basil; and watermelon wedges with crème fraiche, lime juice, and mint.

grilled pineapples

Five (grilled) fruity recipes that dreams are made of:

  1. Sunset magazine’s fun grilled strawberry shortcake kebabs—the cubes of cake get a toasted-marshmallow-like crunchy shell!

  2. The How Sweet It Is blog’s downright beautiful honey grilled watermelon caprese salad.

  3. Serious Eats’ simply perfect grilled pineapple salsa.

  4. Cooking Light’s full-meal-deal grilled peaches and pork.

  5. NYT Cooking’s grilled figs with pomegranate molasses. Include them in any course of your meal: a delicious appetizer when served with goat cheese, a fabulous side dish for steak or lamb, or a dreamy dessert with Greek yogurt or honeyed mascarpone.

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