As purveyors of Gourmet Fruit Gifts, we know a ton about fruit. We know how to grow it, pick it, store it, ship it and—as the skins, seeds, and pits in our trashcans show—eat it. But we don’t know it all; we’re constantly learning new things and we wouldn’t have it any other way. That’s why we’re introducing our newest feature “Will it Grill?” where we’ll grill different varieties of fruit to see whether we can and should fire up our grills. Will we burn a fruit or two along the way? Absolutely. But for the sake of knowledge, and some sweet caramelized fruit goodness, we’ll give it a shot. Let the grilling and discovery commence!
A Few Things To Consider
Fruit is perfect fresh; it doesn’t need to be grilled. However, with some heat, smoke and a little love, everyday fruit can become downright exotic. But before you can develop those exotic flavors, there are a few things to consider:
1.) Fruit burns quickly. It’s got a thin skin, delicate flesh and as a result, cooks within minutes—any longer and it becomes a dead ringer for charcoal. Not all fruits will cook for the same amount of time. Being impatient and antsy will probably do you some good.
2.) Fruit takes on flavor incredibly well. This is great in terms of adding herbs and spices for flavor, but terrible for what we’ve dubbed “accidental seasoning”. “Accidental Seasoning” is when your grill imparts flavor into your fruit. While this doesn’t sound bad in theory, the flavor that is most often imparted is an amalgamation of old meat. While exotic, this meaty flavor is in no way what we’re looking for. So, in a sentence: wash your grill. In two more: Use soap and water and give it a good once over. Reserve a spot for fruit when it’s clean so that you don’t have to wash it after every grilling session.
We started our grilling bonanza with watermelon. Watermelons are a great entry-level fruit for grilling because they’re almost impossible to mess up. They’re gigantic; if you burn the first 10 slices, there’s another 10 slices waiting. If you burn those, chances are you shouldn’t be grilling in the first place.
The watermelon we used were personal watermelon, which are smaller and designed to serve 1-2 people. We cut our personal watermelon into ½ -1 inch wide slices and tossed them on our oiled grill. When they hit the grill they sizzled. Immediately the smell of smoky delicious watermelon filled the air. After roughly 1 1/2 minutes, we flipped them. After another 1 1/2 minutes, we pulled them.
Before: Airy and juicy, with a decidedly watermelon-y flavor.
After: Dense, smoky, with a thicker, reduced juice. The watermelon flavor was concentrated and—in our minds—more delicious.
Will it Grill? You bet it will.
Grilled peaches are stunning. If you ever need to impress someone, grab a peach and grill it. Do it well, and you should illicit a chorus of “oohs”, “ahhs” and “I didn’t know you could cook”. We used freestone peaches and cut them into halves. We placed the peaches flesh side down on the grill and after a minute, rotated them so that we’d get a cross hatch pattern.
Before: Juicy and meaty, with a certifiably peach-y flavor
After: The caramelized juices carried a smoky, decadent flavor. Peaches become a viable dessert when grilled. And not in a “let’s eat fruit for dessert sort of way”. More like: “let’s indulge ourselves with something rich and not worry about the consequences until tomorrow” sort of way.
Will it Grill? It will, it will!
Mangoes, like watermelon, have an affinity for the flavors of the grill. We sliced our mangoes into strips and placed them on the grill, skin up. After a few minutes, we flipped them just to make sure to cook them all the way through.
Before: Sweet and tart with a undeniably mango-y flavor.
After: Mangos become rich and meaty. The grill marks they develop almost practically cry out for use in savory applications. Think burgers or mango salsa.
Will it Grill? Yep!
Next Week: Summer fruits really are meant for the grill. Not only are they large and juicy enough to withstand the high heat, but they also ripen at a time when our grills are already fired up. While we didn’t break any ground this week, we hope to rectify that next week as we put our Bing and rainier cherries to the test.
What do you think? Have you ever grilled fruit? What’s your favorite grilled fruit? Are there any specific fruits you’d like to see us try?