Chef's Hat: For a sweet treat, grill fruit

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Fruit is one of the easiest foods to grill, yet seems to be something people never think about putting on the grill.

When you grill fruit, the water evaporates and the sugars are concentrated. The sugars on the surface of the fruit that touch the grill get caramelized, creating a sweet, delicious and healthy treat.

Almost any fruit can be grilled; large fruits like peaches, bananas, pineapples, pears and watermelon can be sliced and placed directly on the grill. Smaller fruits, like strawberries and blueberries, need to be placed onto skewers or in a grill basket.

Pick fruits that are slightly firm as they will hold up better when grilling. While the grill is heating up, rinse and, if necessary, peel your fruit. Make sure your grill grate is clean and lightly spray it with cooking oil so the fruit doesn't stick. Then simply put your fruit on the grate, and grill for six to eight minutes.

Grilled fruit is a great side for any meat or poultry dish, a good appetizer and, of course, makes a fantastic dessert. Once grilled, fruit can be topped with a glaze, honey, whipped cream or even chocolate sprinkles - something for everyone.

Enjoy the fresh produce of summer by starting a new family tradition - grilling your dessert to perfection. Happy Eating!

Cinnamon Honey Glaze

  • ¼ cup honey
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Combine all ingredients into a small bowl. Stir well. Microwave for five to ten seconds. Remove from microwave and stir. If honey is still thick, place back into microwave and cook an additional five seconds. Remove and stir well. Lightly drizzle onto your favorite grilled fruits.

Grilled Pineapple Spears

  • One fresh pineapple - remove outer layer/peel, core and cut into spears
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Lay the pineapple spears on to a large plate or flat pan. Sprinkle the cinnamon lightly over the spears.

Combine the butter and brown sugar in a small bowl and mix until well combined. If the mixture seems too thick, microwave for five to ten seconds.

Drizzle the butter/brown sugar over the pineapple.

Place on a preheated grill. Grill for five minutes, turn the spears over and grill for an additional two to four minutes. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

Grilled Fruit with Balsamic Vinegar Syrup

Adapted from mayoclinic.org

  • 1 small pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into 4 wedges
  • 2 large mangoes, cored and cut in half
  • 2 large peaches, cored and cut in half
  • Butter-flavored cooking spray
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • Mint or basil leaves for garnish, if desired

In a large bowl, combine the pineapple, mangoes and peaches. Spray generously with cooking spray. Toss and spray again to ensure the fruit is well-coated. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Toss to coat evenly. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat the balsamic vinegar over low heat. Simmer until the liquid is reduced in half, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat.

Clean the grill grate. Lightly coat with cooking spray. Prepare a hot fire in a charcoal grill or heat a gas grill or broiler. Position the grate 4 to 6 inches from the heat source.

Place the fruit on the grill rack. Grill three minutes, turn the fruit over and grill an additional three to five minutes until the sugar is caramelized and there are light brown grill marks on the fruit.

Remove the fruit from the grill and arrange onto individual serving plates. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and garnish with mint or basil. Serve immediately.