Grilled Peaches…Yum Yum

Our SpendSmart.EatSmart poll the past month asked how many of you have cooked fruits or vegetables on the grill?   73% of you said you have grilled fruits and vegetables which is great!  Grilling brings out great flavors without a lot of added fat or sugar.  You do have to be careful that your food does not char on the outside before it heats all the way through.

This summer I tried grilling peaches for the first time, and they were delicious.  I did have trouble getting the pit out.  After a little research I learned that next time I should look for “freestone” peaches instead of “clingstone” because the pits are easier to remove.  The peach skin came off easily after I dipped the peaches for 10-15 seconds in boiling water.   The recipe I was using called for drizzling the peaches with balsamic vinegar and then sprinkling on brown sugar and letting the mixture sit for a while.  Other recipes just call for grilling the peaches and sprinkling with brown sugar after they are cooked.

Grilling the peaches was easy.  All you have to do is brush them with oil (I also oiled the grill grates). Place the peach halves face-down on the grill. Turn the peaches after 3 to 4 minutes, after they have given up the brightness in their color, sprinkle flat side (now facing up) with more brown sugar. Remove after another couple of minutes, or when you poke them with a fork and they are soft all the way through.

I served mine with frozen yogurt for dessert.  They would also be good as a side dish with grilled meat.

I think you could do pears and plums using the same process as the peaches.  Next I am going to try making cubed cantaloupe/grape kabobs and try brushing on honey with a bit of mint added.

Tip: Refrigerating peaches can make them mealy. Do not refrigerate your peaches unless you are sure they are ripe. You may prolong their shelf life, but the loss of quality isn’t worth it.

Time for a Picnic, Try Pita Pockets

This month’s featured recipe is Peanut Butter Pita Pockets.

This is a great food to take to the park, on a bike ride or just for a backyard picnic.  The pita pockets are great for holding in sweet juicy fruit, but whole wheat bread could be substituted to save a trip to the store or a few pennies.

This very simple recipe will be best with ripe fruit.   Fruit is plentiful in the market right now, but it is not all ripe.  Apricots, bananas, cantaloupe, kiwi, mangoes, nectarines, peaches, pears, plantains and plums continue to ripen at room temperature after they’re picked. To speed their ripening, put them in a loosely closed brown paper bag. Plastic bags don’t work for ripening. Once fully ripened, fruits may be stored in the refrigerator to lengthen their storage time.  Though the outside skin of a refrigerated banana will turn dark brown, the inside will remain light-colored.

Consider teaching your kids or grandkids to make this recipes.  Let them choose a new fruit to try.

Peanut Butter Pita Pockets

Ingredients

  • 2 apples, pears, bananas, peaches, or mangoes
  • 2 medium whole wheat pita pockets
  • 1/4 cup chunky peanut butter

Instructions

  1. Wash and slice fruit.
  2. Cut pitas in half to make 4 pockets.
  3. Warm each pita half in the microwave for about 10 seconds to make them more flexible.
  4. Carefully open each pocket and spread about 1 tablespoon of peanut butter on the inside walls of each pita half. You may need to warm the peanut butter in the microwave for a few seconds, especially if it has been in the refrigerator.
  5. Fill each pocket with sliced fruit. Serve at room temperature.

Waldorf Summer Salad

WOW, what an easy salad and one that kids love (it’s the marshmallows).

Because you can use almost any fruit, Waldorf Summer Salad is a great one to use with seasonal fruit. Right now, in Iowa, we have lots of luscious peaches, plums, cherries, berries and melons in the markets, so I probably wouldn’t make it with the apples and bananas shown in the picture.

Don’t make this salad too far ahead, but do let the kids help. If you need a few more servings, just add another fruit or two and a little more juice.

Waldorf Summer Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 medium apple, diced*
  • 1 banana, cut up
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup fruit juice (any kind)
  • 1 cup miniature marshmallows
  • Optional: ¼ cup coarsely chopped walnuts or peanuts

Instructions

  1. Place apple, banana, and raisins in a bowl. Pour juice over and stir to coat.
  2. Stir in marshmallows and, if desired, chopped nuts. Serve.
    *Invite your family to experiment with flavor combinations, such as pears, peaches, kiwi, canned pineapple, and other dried fruits.

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