We all know that fresh fruit and vegetables are among the healthiest foods we can eat. From the heart-healthy blueberry to the potassium-rich banana, fruit is something we should all enjoy every day. But fruit doesn’t have to be boring or monotonous.
Have you ever considered grilling fruit rather than eating it as it is? The flavors intensify, the naturally occurring sugars start to caramelize, and juice starts to ooze from your strawberries, peaches, and pineapples. Plus, the smoke from your pellet grill imparts a unique, smokey flavor. And let’s not forget about those lovely grill marks! Let’s explore some things to remember as you discover how delicious grilled fruit can be.
How do I grill fruit on my pellet grill? 9 Top Tips
- Choose the right fruit. Of course, you can choose any fruit, but it’s best to go for those that will retain their shape as they’re being grilled. Pineapples, bananas, peaches, melons, pears, and figs are some of the best options if you want to avoid a mushy, fruity mess on your grill!
- Cut your fruit into large chunks. Most fruit tends to be a little fragile, so cut your fruit into big pieces so it can hold its structure, even after heating up and breaking down. Larger pieces of fruit are also less likely to get stuck between your grill’s grates. If you’re grilling smaller fruits like berries, skewer them or use a grill plate or mat.
- Make sure you oil your pellet grill grates, using a neutral-tasting, high-heat friendly oil, like safflower oil. That way, you don’t need to worry about peeling bits of burnt kiwi rings off the grates. If this is too tricky, you can always use a shallow pan or create a barrier using a piece of aluminum foil to create a barrier between the grates and your food. This will mean you won’t get those infamous grill marks, but this is less important with fruit than with meat. If you oil your grill gates, you won’t have to worry about oiling your fruit, which can overpower the flavor.
- Keep an eye on the fruit! Fruit is not like meat and doesn’t take long at all to cook, particularly small, delicate berries. Stand beside your grill, watching your fruit until it starts to look a little golden.
- Keep it hot! Heat your pellet grill to around 350F – 450F for at least 10 minutes, scrape and oil your grates, then you can put your fruit on the grill. Fruit generally won’t take longer than 6-8 minutes, so don’t overdo it!
- Use your grill to experiment with new fruits. Are there any new and exotic fruits you’ve never tried before? Now’s the time to try them! The best thing about fruit is that you can grill almost any kind, provided you look after them on the grill. The grill will also caramelize the natural sugars to make these new fruits sweeter, and thus more appetizing.
- Remember that denser fruit will take slightly longer to cook. As with any vegetable, the fruits with the highest water content will take the least time to cook. So if you’re making fruit kabobs, remember to place fruits with similar textures on the same sticks, otherwise, you risk some fruits cooking before others! For example, a piece of apple may not do well beside a piece of pineapple, as the pineapple can start to fall apart long before the apple will.
- Get creative with your toppings, if any! If you prefer to grill your fruit and enjoy the smoky flavors as they are, that’s great. But if you’re hosting a barbecue and want to impress your guests, why not soak them in liquor or wine for a boozy kick? You could also coat them in a little sugar, maple syrup, or agave for some added sweetness. This will go down particularly well with sour fruits like raspberries and pineapple! And of course, there’s the classic combination of fruit and chocolate. A real winner for the kids at heart!
- Grill a big batch of fruit and use it later. Just because you’re grilling now doesn’t mean you have to eat everything right away! Why not make a big batch of grilled fruit, pop it in the fridge, and use it later? Trust us, some grilled peaches or sweet, caramelized bananas will be delicious in your morning smoothie! You can also set your grilled fruit aside and use it for a pie topping, or eat it with ice cream. The list goes on and on – it’s a great way to encourage yourself to make healthy choices.
Which pellets should I use?
Keep your chosen pellets mild – deep, smokey pellets like Hickory will likely overpower your fruit, even for a short time. Try fruitwood or another mild pellet.
Grilled fruit: a new barbecue favorite?
Most Americans are very familiar with the taste of barbecued meat, fish, and vegetables. But grilled fruit is such a delicious way to get more delicious produce into your diet. Plus, who doesn’t love the idea of a banana fritter or juicy grilled pineapple as a post-barbecue dessert? If you’re not sure where to start, see our grilled fruit recipes and give them a try, first.
Next time you get the grill out, try some fruit you’ve never had before. Watch how its composition changes and how long it takes to caramelize. You might find that grilled fruit is your new favorite treat!