Make your Barbecue a Dieter’s Paradise

Move past the cream cakes and stodgy puddings and add fruit to your barbecue for a healthier option to desserts. Baked bananas have long been a synonymous fruit to barbecues, but while melons, nectarines or peaches are not the first thing to come to mind when we think about grilling on the barbecue, these and a whole range of fruits can lead to tempting tastes and rewards. And suddenly puddings and even seconds are a healthy option, high in nutrients and minerals you are onto a winning combination.

Some fruits will work better than others, but if the berries suddenly turn out more squashy and less in shape than when they went on, add them as a drizzle to ice cream.

Soak the sliced or cubed fruits in cold water prior to grilling and for fruits which tend to brown easier like apples add a few drops of lemon juice to the water, dry and simply place on trays, it really is as simple as that. From the tropical oranges and yellows to the ruby reds of strawberries the colours will warm and excite any table setting and add an extra rich visual touch to any meal.

As long as the fruit can withstand the heat of the barbecue without becoming too mushy anything goes and is always worth a try. Skewer little chunks of the fruit for a real tropical kebab or bake in a double layer of tin foil and use oil which is not likely to overwhelm the flavour of the fruit. A little melted butter, canola or grape seed oil make excellent alternatives. Importantly make sure if using the grill plates or trays that they are cleaned off quite vigorously before placing any fruit on them to be cooked, you may wish your baked fruit to be unique but not with the flavour of the meat you have cooked prior to it.

Because the heat extracts to the surface the natural sugars in the fruit, there is little needed to sweeten it up, but a sprinkling of brown sugar or cinnamon over the fruit works well or for a tasty zest, squeeze some lemon juice prior to grilling or even marinade the night before. Other fruits which can be surprisingly tasty are grilled pineapple which becomes slightly sweeter or go really tropical and try papaya and mangoes which hold together well, being firmer fruits, and if you feel like mixing them and creating a barbecued fruit cocktail, this will work just as you would with an uncooked fruit dessert. Apples sliced up with a touch of ginger can provide an inventive taste and after grilling, you can easily leave some aside to add a creative taste to your pies when you next bake.

Guests will enjoy not only the taste but happily will be adding to their five a day intake so expertly recommended. Serve your fruit with ice cream, mascarpone or even with a pastry or cake side dish, to soak up the glorious juice which has caramelised while cooking. Or go the extra mile and marinade in a favourite liqueur, such as bourbon, to give a real unexpected extra tang to your dish – (ensure it is safely drained off before placing on the grill, or cooked in enclosed foil to avoid flare ups).

Easy to prepare, so many variations, fast to cook and hardly any time needed to dream up some fantastic healthy but unique desserts for your menu. Think about fruits for the barbecue and you will find there is are a lot more benefits to them than you realise.

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