A few minutes over the fire intensifies the juicy sweetness of fresh fruit, caramelizing its natural sugars and adding a smoky depth of flavor you’ll enjoy in everything from salsa todessert to, yes, sangria. Here’s how to get perfect results every time.
Pick your fruit | “I can’t think of any fruit that doesn’t grill well,” says cook and food educator Stephanie Meyer. But, there are a few secrets to remember at the fruit stand. First, the fruit should be fresh and ripe—but not too ripe. An overripe peach, for example, will just fall apart. Just barely-ripe fruits are your best bet.
Don’t peel it | With a few exceptions, like mangos and pineapples, it’s best to leave the peel on your fruit as you grill it. The peel gives structure that helps the pieces stay together.
Use a grill pan for small fruits | Berries, cherries, and any small pieces of fruit will fall through the grill’s grates, so you’re best off using a grill pan on your range inside, or set on top of the barbecue grates.Oil everything first | Brush the grates of the grill and the
surfaces of the fruit itself with a neutral vegetable oil before grilling. Don’t use a strongly flavored oil like extra-virgin olive oil unless the fruit will be part of a savory dish.
Time it right | Grilling times will vary for different types of fruit.
On average, peaches and other stone fruits take about 2 to 4 minutes per side; oranges, lemons, limes, and pineapples about 3 to 4 minutes per side; bananas about 5 minutes; berries about 2 minutes. Remember that you’re not really trying to cook the fruit, just to warm and sear it. You’ll know it’s done when it’s heated through and slightly soft, but
not too mushy.
Finish strong | A sprinkle of salt will highlight the sweetness and add salty contrast to grilled fruit. Drizzling it with flavor-infused simple syrup lends rich dimension, as well.