Try grilling fruits and veggiesSummer is officially here, and many have already fired up their grills to celebrate the warmth with outdoor barbeques. Some people may pride themselves on their homemade rubs and marinades that turn their meat into a flavorful, juicy delicacy. But, to be a true master of the grill, try your hand at grilling foods other than meat, such as fruits and vegetables.
By: Christina Rittenbach, NDSU extension, The Jamestown Sun
Summer is officially here, and many have already fired up their grills to celebrate the warmth with outdoor barbeques. Some people may pride themselves on their homemade rubs and marinades that turn their meat into a flavorful, juicy delicacy. But, to be a true master of the grill, try your hand at grilling foods other than meat, such as fruits and vegetables.
Grilling fruits and vegetables is a quick and easy way to get more color, fiber and nutrients into your diet. Here are some tips for cooking these foods on the grill:
*Be sure to avoid cross-contamination with raw meats. Raw meat may be harboring harmful bacteria, and fruits and vegetables typically don’t stay on the grill long enough to kill off any bacteria from cross-contamination. To avoid this, use separate tongs, plates, cutting boards and knives for your produce.
*If you are grilling vegetables with a lower water content, such as carrots or asparagus, you may want to drizzle on a bit of oil to prevent the food from sticking to the grill.
*You can place large pieces of vegetable directly on the grill or cut into smaller chunks and make kabobs or use a grill basket.
*Many vegetables develop a different flavor after being grilled. Try a veggie you don’t typically like, and see how it turns out on the grill
*Grilled vegetables can be saved and eaten as leftovers. Wrap up any extras and refrigerate for up to three days. Try the leftover veggies in a sandwich, salad, or atop rice or couscous.
*Grilled fruits can make for a nice dessert or side for your meal. Softer fruits such as bananas and peaches cook very quickly on the grill, so they should be closely monitored. Firmer fruits like apples, pears and pineapples cook slower.
*One way to prepare fruit for the grill is to cut it in half and remove the pit or core (if applicable). Brush the fruit with oil so it does not stick to the grill. Grill until the fruit is heated through. Finish off by sprinkling some cinnamon on the grilled fruit.
Unlike meats, fruits and vegetables do not have a specific temperature you should reach before they are considered done. When grilling fruits and vegetables, be sure to monitor the grill to ensure the food does not overcook.
For more information on this topic, contact Christina Rittenbach, Stutsman County Extension agent, at 252-9030 or christina.rittenbach@ ndsu.edu.