Have a Plant: Fruits & Veggies for Better Health

Summertime is filled with backyard barbecues, block parties and casual dinners, all featuring friends, family and food! It’s the perfect time to take advantage of fresh, in-season produce, like sweet corn, zucchini, summer squash, eggplant and juicy cherry tomatoes. And, what better way to end your cookout than on a sweet note? Summer season fruit can be transformed in many different ways to create light and delectable desserts. Here are a few fun (and kid-friendly) ideas:

5 Ways to Use Fruit for Summertime Desserts

  1. Grilled Stone Fruit. Gather fresh peaches, nectarines, plums and apricots. Slice them in half and remove the pit. Brush fruit halves with olive oil and grill for 1 to 3 minutes per side. Eat grilled stone fruit plain, pair with a scoop of frozen yogurt or drizzle with honey.
  2. Frozen Fruit Skewers. Get the kids involved and simply thread your favorite fresh fruit, such as grapes and banana slices, on wooden skewers. Drizzle with melted dark chocolate (if you wish) and freeze. Then, all that’s left to do is take them out of the freezer and enjoy!
  3. Berry Crisp. With an abundance of fresh blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries, why not turn them into a delicious dessert? Combine berries and any other fruits on hand, like rhubarb, and top with a crisp topping made with oats, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and butter. Bake and serve warm or at room temperature with frozen yogurt, if desired.
  4. No Bake Watermelon Cake. Remove the top and bottom from a watermelon, and then remove the rind from the middle section. This will leave you with a cake-shaped piece of watermelon. Pat the outside of the watermelon dry with paper towels and frost with whipped cream. Top with toasted almonds and your favorite fresh fruit, like blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and kiwi. Slice up like cake and serve!
  5. Stuffed Grilled Bananas. This is a fun activity to do at your next backyard barbecue! Each person gets a banana to stuff with toppings, such as chocolate chips, sliced strawberries, crushed pineapple, chopped pecans and marshmallows. After the banana is filled, wrap in foil and place on the grill. Grab a fork, and dig in!

Recipe

Stuffed Grilled Bananas

Ingredients

  • Bananas (1 per person)
  • Heavy duty foil
  • Assorted toppings: chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, granola, coconut, marshmallows, chopped pecans, peanut butter chips, graham cracker pieces, sliced strawberries, crushed pineapple

Directions

  1. Heat grill to medium heat.
  2. Hold a banana with the curve upwards. With a knife, carefully cut a slit in one side peel, from the stem to the opposite end, similar to how you cut up a baked potato. Take care to make sure you don’t cut through to the other side of the peel. With fingers, gently open up the banana a bit. Add toppings as desired inside of the banana. Wrap banana up in foil (either heavy duty foil or a double layer of thinner foil).
  3. Place on grill for about 8-10 minutes, or until toppings are melted as desired and banana has softened. Remove from grill, open up foil and serve.

Recipe adapted from: Home Cooking Memories

Lauren Lindsley, RDN, CD
Regional Health & Wellness Manager
Skogen’s Festival Foods
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