by Mary Brown Malouf

We love summer, grilling and fresh-from-the-garden foods. No wonder we get so fired-up when they join forces. This season, think beyond the beef and go to your yard or the farmers’ market to get fresh-picked goodies for the grill. Need some grilled produce ideas? We have plenty.

How To:
Fruit + Fire

• Cut fruit into large pieces so that it keeps its form as it heats up and doesn’t fall between the grates.

• Use skewers and baskets to grill small fruits like strawberries, plums and kumquats.

• Most fruits cook best with lower heat. Put them on the outside edges of your grill, not over the hottest spot.

• Before placing fruit, heat grill to medium high for 10 minutes, then scrape and oil the grates.

• Brush fruits with oil before grilling, and select a neutral-tasting oil that works with high heat, such as safflower and grapeseed oils.

• Choose firm, not-overly-ripe fruit that will maintain its structure as it heats.

• The natural sugars in the fruits require a lower cooking temperature to prevent the sugars from burning. For caramelized, but not burnt fruit, cook your fruits over indirect heat or wait until the coals begin to die out and the temperature is less intense.

• To get grill marks and char, grill fruit over high heat for about 3 minutes without moving or flipping it (depending on fruit’s size and thickness). Turn and cook for another 1 to 3 minutes.

• Have your meal ready to serve before you start grilling fruits and vegetables. They cook quickly and are best served right from the grill.

• Try grilled fruit as a side dish with your main protein—pineapple and banana with fish, peaches with chicken, apples with pork.

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