Grilling Fruits and Vegetables

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Steaks and burgers are not the only foods to enjoy on the grill. Add grilled fruits and vegetables to your next cookout menu. Grilling fruit brings out its natural sweetness and the flavor of the grilled vegetables is enhanced when they are lightly charred.

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Grilling Fruits | Grilling Vegetables | Fruit Grilling Times | Vegetable Grilling Times

Grilling Fruits

Almost any fruit can be cooked on the grill. Hard fruits such as apples, pineapples and pears are easier to grill than softer fruits such as peaches, nectarines, plums, and papaya. Softer fruits require more attention when being grilled to prevent overcooking, which will cause the fruit to become mushy. Softer fruit only needs to be heated, not cooked.

Caution: Many fruits contain a high level of water. This water content will make the fruit extremely hot when grilling. If you do not allow the fruit to cool slightly after removing it from the grill, the fruit may cause serious burns to the mouth.

Shown below are some tips for grilling fruit.

Fruit Grilling Tips:

  • Fruits are best grilled when the coals have begun to die out or when placed on the outer edges of the grate, using more of an indirect type of heat. Grill fruit according to the time shown in the chart below.
  • If placing fruit directly on the grill rack, cut the fruit into pieces that are large enough so they do not fall through the grates.
  • Fruits can be grilled with skins on. Softer fruits benefit from leaving their skins on in that it helps maintain their shape and holds them together as they are being grilled.
  • Brushing fruit with melted butter or favorite oil during grilling will help to keep the fruit from sticking to the grill grate. Spraying a non-stick cooking spray on the grate before heating grill also keeps foods from sticking.
  • Use skewers or a grill basket to prevent small chunks of fruit and soft fruit from falling through the grate. If you choose to use skewers, 2 skewers will help prevent fruits from spinning while the cook is turning them on the grill. Remember to soak bamboo skewers for 30 minutes or more before using to prevent them from burning on the grill.
  • To enhance the flavor of the fruit, try brushing cut fruits with melted butter and sprinkling with sugar, cinnamon, brown sugar, or lemon juice while grilling. Sugar tends to burn so it is best to apply it toward the end of cooking time.

Tip: Crack open a fresh coconut for an unexpected great grill taste. Slice the coconut into wedges and lay the pieces white side down on the grill over low coals. Grill until lightly browned. Dip the grilled coconut in melted chocolate and enjoy!


Grilling Vegetables

The flavor of the vegetable intensifies when it has been grilled. Because a lot of the moisture evaporates from the vegetables as they are grilled, the flavor becomes more concentrated and the sugars become more condensed, which increases the sweetness and flavor of the vegetables. Some vegetables can be cut into pieces and some can be grilled whole. Others vegetables, such as winter squash, should be precooked before they are grilled. Shown below are some tips for grilling vegetables.

Vegetable Grilling Tips:

  • Vegetables should be grilled over a medium heat. The length of cooking time will vary depending on the type of vegetable and how it has been prepared. Vegetables should have browned grill marks and be tender when pierced with a fork or the tip of a knife. Grill vegetables according to the time shown in the chart below.
  • Prevent vegetables from drying out on the grill by soaking them in cold water before cooking.
  • Cut vegetables into uniform size pieces so they will cook evenly. The larger and thicker the pieces the longer the grilling time.
  • Use skewers or a grill basket to prevent small chunks of vegetables from falling through the grate. If you choose to use skewers, 2 skewers will help prevent vegetables from spinning while turning on the grill. Remember to soak bamboo skewers for 30 or more minutes before using to prevent them from burning.
  • Before placing on the grill, brush oil onto vegetables to prevent them from sticking to the grates. The vegetables must be dry before applying oil or the oil will not stick.
  • When grilling harder vegetables, such as potatoes, with other vegetables, they may need to be cooked before grilling to ensure that all the vegetables are done at the same time.
  • Seasoning the vegetables with a coarse salt, such as sea salt or kosher salt, before grilling will draw out extra moisture from the vegetables, which will intensify its sweetness and flavor.
  • Brushing vegetables with butter or favorite oil during grilling helps to keep the vegetables from sticking to the grill grate. Spraying a non-stick cooking spray on the grate before heating grill also keeps foods from sticking.
  • Experiment by sprinkling different herbs and spices over vegetables while grilling.
Grilling Times for Fruits and Vegetables
Fruit
Preparation Grilling Time
Indirect Grilling - Medium Heat
(unless indicated differently)
Apples Peel apples, cut into quarters, and cut out the core. Sprinkle apples with lemon juice to keep them from turning brown. The apples can also be cut into 1/2 inch slices, placed in a grill basket, and then placed on the grill to be cooked in the basket. Coat apples with melted butter. Cook for 30 to 45 minutes, until apples are tender. Turn about every 10 minutes while cooking and baste with melted butter if the slices begin to stick.
Apricots Cut in half and remove the pit. Place on a skewer so the apricots lay flat. Baste with butter and place on the grill skin side down. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Once the fruit is warmed, place over direct coals just long enough to produce grill marks on the fruit.
Bananas Use whole unpeeled bananas or cut in half lengthwise. If using whole bananas be careful when opening cooked banana because they have a tendency to split. Cook for 5 to 8 minutes until banana turns completely black, turning occasionally.
Coconut Crack open the coconut and cut into wedges. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes with the white side of the coconut down. Turn wedges once through cooking time to brown the other white side. Grill until both sides are nicely browned.
Figs Cut in half lengthwise and place on a skewer so the apricots lay flat. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes, turning once.
Mango Stand mango upright and cut a 1/2 inch thick, lengthwise slice from the broad side of the mango. Cut another 1/2 inch thick slice from that side. Turn and repeat cutting the two slices from the other side. Cut a slice from each end of the mango. The slices with skin on one side should have the flesh scored in a criss-cross pattern to form medium size pieces. Be sure not to cut through the skin. Cook for approximately 2 minutes over medium heat with flesh side down on well oiled grates. Remove from grill and place the other slices that are flesh on both sides on a well oiled grate and cook for approximately 2 minutes on each side. When slices with skin on one side have cooled enough to handle, press inside out to allow chunks to be removed easily.
Melons (firm fleshed) Cut into 1 inch wide wedges and discard seeds. Removing the peel is optional. Can also cut melon into cubed pieces and place on skewers. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes until hot throughout, Turn frequently and lightly baste with melted butter to prevent sticking.
Nectarines Cut nectarines in half lengthwise and remove the pit. Lightly coat nectarines with melted butter. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes until fruit is hot throughout. Turn once through cooking time.
Oranges Cut oranges, with peel, into 1/2 inch thick slices. Brush both sides of orange slices with vegetable oil. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes per side over direct medium heat. Cook until both sides are lightly browned.
Papayas Peel and cut into 3/4 rings, or cut lengthwise into quarters. Cook for approximately 8 minutes. Turn once.
Peaches Cut peaches in half lengthwise and remove the pit. Lightly coat peaches with melted butter. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes until fruit is hot throughout. Turn once through cooking time.
Pears Cut pear in half lengthwise and cut out stem and seeds. Lightly coat with melted butter. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until pears are tender. Turn once throughout cooking time.
Pineapple

Cut top and bottom off from the pineapple and trim all the skin from around the sides. Remove any eyes that are left. Cut into rings or slices. For more information on preparing pineapple, see All About Pineapple. Sprinkle a little salt on the pineapple to intensify its flavor.

Cook for 8 to 12 minutes on oiled grates. Turn once through the cooking time.
Plantains Leave plantains whole or split them in half lengthwise. Cook for 6 to 10 minutes over a medium direct heat. Turn once through the cooking time.
Plums

Wash fresh plums, cut in half lengthwise and remove pit. Drizzle plums with oil.
Or, prepare as above and place on a sheet of heavy duty foil. Add honey and orange juice and seal tightly.

Cook for 2 or 3 minutes per side or until lightly browned. Cook with cut side down first and then turn to skin side. Cook until plums are soft and warmed throughout. If cooking in foil packet, cook for 5 or 10 minutes.
Vegetables
Preparation Grilling Time
Indirect Grilling - Medium Heat
(unless indicated differently)
Artichokes Rinse in cold water, trim off top 1/3 of artichoke, and cut off the stem just at the base. With stem side up, cut artichoke in half lengthwise. Scrape out the fuzzy choke in the center with a spoon or knife. Place the artichoke halves in a sauce pan containing 3 inches of boiling water and add desired seasoning. Simmer until tender, approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Remove and drain well. Coat cut side with oil. Cook for 10 minutes with cut side up. When uncut side is golden brown, brush cut side with oil and turn the artichoke over, and cook for an additional 10 minutes or until golden brown.
Asparagus Trim off tough ends and place asparagus into boiling salt water to blanch for 1 minute. Remove the asparagus, submerge into cold water immediately to prevent further cooking. Drain, pat dry, and brush with oil. Place asparagus on the grill perpendicular to bars of the grate so the spears do not fall through. Leave a bit of space between asparagus stalks.
Cook directly over medium heat for approximately 6 to 8 minutes (3-4 minutes per side), turning once. Grill asparagus until crisp tender.
Bell Peppers Cut peppers lengthwise down the middle. Cut out stem, seeds, and white rib areas. Leave in halves or cut to desired size. If cut to small pieces, place them on a skewer for better control in turning them. Brush peppers with oil before placing on the grill. Cook for 6 to 10 minutes, directly over medium heat. Turn once through cooking. Grill peppers until they are heated through and are beginning to shrivel. Peppers should be crisp tender.
Carrots Do not peel carrots, just scrub under cold water to clean. Leave thin carrots whole but if some are thick at one end and thin at the other, cut thin end off and leave that portion as is. Cut the thick portion in half lengthwise. Coat carrots with oil. Cook for 15 or 20 minutes, until softened but they should still have a slight firmness to them. Turn occasionally and brush with oil throughout cooking time.
Chili Peppers Cut stem out of pepper and pull seeds out. Leave whole. Coat with oil Cook for 4 to 6 minutes. Turn once throughout cooking time.
Chili Peppers - Char-grilled Leave peppers whole.
After Grilling: Place in a paper bag and close tight. Allow peppers to steam in bag 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from bag, peel skins with a paring knife and then remove stems and seeds. Cut to desired size.
Cook for approximately 5 minutes over a high heat until the skins are blistered and charred all around.
Sweet Corn in husks Pull back husks but do not remove. Remove silk, then fold husks back up on corn, and tie with kitchen twine. Soak corn and husks in water for 1 to 3 hours and drain before grilling. Cook for 20 to 30 minutes over medium coals. Turn frequently throughout cooking time. Corn is done when steam is visible.
Sweet Corn out of husks Remove all the husk and corn silk. Rinse corn and pat dry.
Cook for 10 to 12 minutes over medium coals. Brush corn with butter and turn frequently. Corn is done when kernels have turned golden brown.
Eggplants Trim ends off eggplant. Slice large eggplants crosswise and if shorter, cut them lengthwise into 1/2 inch thick pieces. Or if placing on a skewer, cut into 1/2 inch squares. Coat pieces with oil. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes. Cook until the middle is tender.
Fennel Cut off stems and any wilted outer layers. Cut off the base and wash. Trim to 1/4 inch thick slices. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat evenly. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes directly over medium heat. Slices should be tender and grill marked when done. Brush with oil while cooking if necessary to prevent sticking.
Garlic Cut the root end off and brush the garlic bulb with oil. Cook for 30 to 35 minutes with cut side of bulb down on grates. Turn several times throughout cooking time. Garlic is done when lightly browned and cloves inside are tender. Do not let garlic become charred.
Leeks Trim off root end and green tops. Discard tough outer layers. Cut in half lengthwise and simmer in salted water until tender. This generally takes 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from water and place on a plate to drain and cool slightly. Drizzle with oil before placing on the grill. Cook for 6 to 10 minutes directly over a medium heat fire, turning once about half way through the cooking time. Leeks should be charred on both sides.
Mushrooms Brush off loose dirt. Avoid washing if possible. Cut off stems and leave whole or cut into slices. Brush with oil before placing on the grill. For slices or small mushrooms use a grill basket, vegetable grate, or skewers, if the mushrooms are sturdy enough to stay on the skewer. Cook for 6 to 10 minutes, turning once through cooking time. Grill just until tender.
Onions, Dry (yellow, white, red) Remove the papery outer layer only. Cut onion into halves or quarters. If cutting 1/2 inch thick slices for grilling, remove the outer skin first. Brush onions with oil or melted butter.
Remove the outer layer of skin from halves and quarters after they are done, before serving.
Cook halves and quarters for 20 to 30 minutes, using indirect heat. Turn over every 5 minutes until done. Cook 1/2 inch thick slices for 6 to 10 minutes, using direct heat and turning once about half way through the cooking time. Cook onions until they are crisp tender.
Onions, green Trim root end of onions and trim green tops, leaving approximately 3 inches of the green stem. Place trimmed onions in a shallow dish and coat thoroughly with oil. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes over direct medium heat, turning frequently. Cook until lightly charred on all sides.
Potatoes (Whole with skins on) Wash, dry, and poke several times with a fork. Rub with oil and wrap in aluminum foil. Cook for 35 to 45 minutes over direct heat. Turn potatoes occasionally. Potatoes are done when they are tender when poked with a fork.
Potatoes (Halved and peeled) Peel potatoes and cut in half lengthwise. Place in a large saucepan and add enough water to cover. Add salt and bring to a boil. Cook until tender but still firm, approximately 15 minutes. Drain, pat dry, and coat with oil. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes directly over medium-high heat. Turn occasionally. Cook until tender and nicely browned.
Potatoes (Wedges with skins on) Wash and dry potatoes. Cut potatoes in half lengthwise and cut each half lengthwise into approximately 1 inch wedges. Coat the wedges on all sides with oil. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes, cut side down, over direct medium-high heat. Turn to other cut side and cook for another 5 to 6 minutes. Cut sides should be a nice golden brown and then the wedge should be turn so the skin side is down and place over indirect heal. Cook until wedges are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife.
Potatoes (Slices with skins on) Wash and dry potatoes. Cut potatoes lengthwise into 3/8 to 3/4 inch thick slices. Put slices in a large saucepan and add just enough water to cover slices. Bring to a boil and cook for 4 to 6 minutes, until tender but firm. Drain, pat dry, and brush both sides of slices with oil. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, each side, over direct medium heat. Cook until nicely browned.
Potatoes (New potatoes with skins on) Wash and dry potatoes. Rub the surface of the potatoes with oil and place on skewers. Using metal skewers will speed up the cooking time. Cook for 30 to 40 minutes starting with indirect heat. Gradually roll them towards the direct heat through out the cooking time. Potatoes will be crispy outside and tender inside when done.
Squash - Summer (Crookneck, Pattypan, Zucchini) Slice summer squash lengthwise in half or in 3/8 to 1/2 inch thick slices. Brush both sides with oil. Cook squash halves for 15 to 20 minutes directly over medium heat, turning often. 3/8 to 1/2 inch thick slices should cook for 4 to 5 minutes per side. Cook squash until nicely browned and tender when pierced with the tip of a knife.
Squash - Winter (Acorn, Butternut, Hubbard)

Peel the squash and cut in half. Remove the seeds and cut the squash into 1 to 2 inch cubes. Place cubes on skewers and brush squash with melted butter or oil.
Winter squash can also be left with the skin on, cut in half, seeds removed, and placed on the grill with the cut side up. Brush cut side with melted butter or oil.

Cook for approximately 20 minutes, turning every 5 minutes. Squash is done if it is tender when pierced with the tip of a knife.
Cook halves for 30 to 40 minutes. Be sure they are placed over indirect heat.
Sweet Potatoes (Whole with skins on) Wash potato and pierce several times with a fork. Wrap individually in foil. Potatoes could be boiled in water for 10 minutes before wrapping to speed grilling process if desired. Cook for 40 to 45 minutes directly over medium heat. Turn potatoes a quarter turn about every 15 minutes. Cook until tender through to the middle when pierced with a fork.
Sweet Potatoes (Peeled slices) Peel potatoes and cut into 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick slices. Put in a saucepan and add with enough water to cover the potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook for 4 or 5 minutes. Drain, cool slightly, and coat both sides with melted butter. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes, turning once. Brush with melted butter throughout cooking time. Potatoes are done when nicely charred on both sides and tender when pierced.
Tomatoes (Whole) Trim off 1/4 of the top of the tomato and slice a thin layer off the bottom. Remove the core and fill it with oil and other desired seasonings. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes with the tomato right side up. Cook until the tomato is heated throughout.
Tomatoes (Slices) Trim tomato into thick slices. Marinate slices in oil for 45 minutes to an hour before grilling. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes over indirect heat and then move to direct heat and cook for 1 minute on each side. Overcooking may cause tomatoes to fall apart.
Tomatoes (Cherry) Place cherry tomatoes on skewers. Use two skewers parallel to each other for each set of tomatoes. This will prevent tomatoes from sliding around when turning. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes over indirect heat and then move to direct heat and cook for 1 minute on each side.

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