Tips for Grilling Sweet Summer Fruit

Plus recipes for cooking up nectarines, peaches, bananas, and more...

When it comes to grilling, most people think of burgers and dogs with maybe some corn thrown in there. But what about the sweet world of grilled fruit? In it's prime during the summer months, fruit gains a smoky-sweetness from the grill and pairs well in both sweet and savory dishes. 

What fruits work well? Tropical fruits like bananas, pineapples, mangos, melons like cantaloupe and watermelon (try it with a bit of smoky salt or feta), stone fruits like peaches, nectarines, and cherries, and even pears and apples — so basically almost any fruit. Plus, fruits are very nutritious and are low in fat and calories but packed full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. 

Though most fruit can just be eaten raw, grilling adds a new component to the mix so we decided to turn to some experts for the best ways to grill fruit. We picked up a copy of the newly released Fire it Up, which has over 400 grill recipes and an excellent section on grilling fruit. 

What's the best way to grill fruit? Authors Andrew Schloss and David Joachim recommend direct, medium-high heat to "get the job done quickly without turning the fruit to mush." They write that while fruit eaten fresh tastes best at the peak of ripeness, "for grilling, you want slightly underripe fruit so it won't fall apart or get mushy." So choose fruits that are just ripe when grilling. 

Most fruit benefits from being sliced or halved and grilled fleshy side down, but apples and pears can be cored and cooked whole (like the recipe below) and the same goes with stone fruits that just need to be pitted. Try serving the fruit as dessert with ice cream, topped with fresh herbs like mint or basil, in a salsa served atop grilled meats or fish, or simply grilled alongside chicken, pork, bison, or fish. 

Try the recipes below or feel free to play around on the grill with whatever you have on hand!