Happy Endings: Fruit on the Barbie

by Kathleen Reale

Dairy Free Nut Free Fish Free Soy Free Gluten Free 

Can’t have a S’more due to food allergies or celiac disease? Fret no more; Grilling fruit on the grill makes a sensational ending to any summer barbecue. Eating a piece of fruit can be a juicy, mouthwatering experience. However, grilling caramelizes the fruits natural sugars, transforming them into sugary, tasty and dessert-like treats.

Following are a few tips on grilling fruit on the barbecue:

- Clean it up! Because grills take on the residue of past cookings, make sure that the grill is cleaned especially well prior to cooking any fruit. Use a wire brush and elbow grease! (Note: Whenever cooking any gluten or allergen free items on a non-designated gluten free or allergen free grill, it is important to clean it thoroughly to ensure that no unwanted gluten or allergen residue is picked up through cross-contamination). 

- Pit it out. Stone fruits such as peaches, plums and nectarines do best on the grill. Their strong flesh and firmness make them good candidates when it comes to standing up to the grill’s heat and constant turning.

- Cool things off. Serve grilled fruit with a dollop of vanilla bean ice cream or mango sorbet. The various textures and temperatures, as well as the wide spectrum of sweetness and tart will add an element of surprise and will add diversity to the dessert.

- Cooks up quick! Because of the natural sugars in the fruit, they tend to cook swiftly on a grill. To prevent charring, tend to the fruit closely. Look for soft and tender skins and grill marks to gage doneness.

Following are some popular fruits grilling cook times and pointers:

Nectarines and Peaches: Cut fruit in half, remove pit. Cook about 5 minutes each side.

Plums: Cut in halve and remove pit. Cook 7-8 minutes, skin facing up.

Apricots: Cut in half and remove pit. Cook 5-6 minutes or until softened.

Cantaloupes, Honey Dews and other melons: Remove rind and cut into “smiles”, about ½ to ¾” thick. Cook 5-7 minutes total. Brush lightly with olive oil to prevent sticking and turn frequently.

Strawberries: Use large strawberries. Cook quick over low to medium heat for 2-3 minutes.

Bananas: Peel bananas. Brush with olive oil or melted butter. Grill over medium heat for 6-8 minutes until browned lightly, turning once during cooking.

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