Insider’s Viewpoint: Don’t Forget Dessert at Your Next Cookout
Every year I find myself falling into the same routine during the summer months; my family hosts or attends countless cookouts. The warmer temperatures make being outside hard to resist and the variety of foods associated with barbeques have propelled grilling into being a major trend for Americans. Normally, people don’t associate healthy eating with grilling, which in my opinion, is a fallacy. There are numerous ways you can make a fun grill party a healthy event with very little effort. You’re probably thinking about vegetable kabobs, which is a fun and creative way to cook and add vegetables to your event. But let’s not forget one of the most important components of any barbecue, the dessert!
Growing up, my family always made homemade cobbler served with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream for our cookouts, which can be a whopping 500-600 calories per serving! Eating this dessert always makes me nostalgic for my childhood, but I have also learned the importance of balance, and I have an excellent alternative to this traditional, high calorie desserts.
One of my favorite things to do when hosting a barbeque is to slap some fruit on the grill while it is still hot. The heat from the grill will caramelize the natural sugars in the fruit to give it a unique, tangy flavor. Imagine a freshly baked fruit pie without all the added sugar or calories plus an extra serving of nutrient-rich fruit, talk about a homerun! You can even mix together some honey and cinnamon and drizzle that over the grilled fruit for an extra flavor punch. Grilling your fruit is an excellent way to add an extra serving of fruit to your diet, but your mind thinks it’s a dessert!
4 Things to Remember When Grilling Fruit
- Not all fruits grill well, however, there are several fruits that grill beautifully: watermelon, peaches, apricots, cherries, pineapple, apples, coconut, strawberries, figs, bananas, and cantaloupe.
- Using frozen fruit works just as well as fresh.
- Grilling fruit does not take much time. A few minutes on each side and the fruit is done. Be careful not to overcook or burn it.
- Use kabobs for some of those more delicate fruits like peaches or cherries. Simply skewer halved pieces of this fruit and place on the grill.
Grilled Peaches and Cherries with Cinnamon-Honey Syrup
- 14 ounces cherries
- 3 large peaches
- ¼ cup honey
- 1½ tablespoons butter, unsalted
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Vanilla Ice Cream (optional)
- Cut cherries in half and remove pits and stems. Cut the peaches into large chunks and discard the pit.
- Heat grill to medium heat. Thread fruit onto the skewers. Grill fruit on medium heat for about 10-15 minutes or until tender and showing grill marks. Remove the fruit skewers from the grill. When cooled enough to handle, but still warm, transfer fruit to a large bowl from the skewers.
- In a small saucepan, just melt together butter, honey, and cinnamon over low heat. When butter is melted and ingredients are combined, remove from heat. Drizzle over fruit in the bowl and gently turn the fruit over in the bowl to ensure that all the fruit is coated with the syrup. If fruit is still hot or very warm, allow it to continue to cool.
- Spoon the warm fruit over a scoop of vanilla ice cream, if desired. Spoon extra cinnamon and honey over the ice cream.
Karleigh Jurek, RD, LD