June 4, 2013

Add fruits and veggies to summer grilling routine

Grilling is great any time of year, but in the summer, when the house is hot and you are looking for a quick meal, it especially fits the bill. 

Cooking over an open flame is delicious, but the American Cancer Society warns that meat cooked at high temperatures that becomes very well-done or charred creates chemicals that have been linked to an increased cancer risk. This warning does not include fruits and vegetables, however, and antioxidants in fruits and vegetables have been shown to reduce the risk of various types of cancers. So why not take fruits and vegetables to the grill?

Most fruits and vegetables will taste best if they are cooked for a short period of time and retain some of their crunch. Since fruits and vegetables do not need to reach the same temperatures as meat, they should not be marinaded together, because the harmful bacteria that can live in raw meat could transfer to your produce. Fruits and vegetables are plants that can absorb the marinade along with the bacteria. Also, since they do not reach the high temperatures required to make meat safe to eat, the bacteria could survive and make you or your family ill. 

You can grill fruits and vegetables in many different ways. One option is to skewer fruits and vegetables for kabobs. Try soaking wooden skewers in water first so they do not burn. You can marinade the vegetables, or brush them with oil and sprinkle with herbs for flavor. A grill basket works well for chunks of fruits and vegetables if you do not feel like skewering them. If you don’t have a grill basket, you can use heavy-duty aluminum foil or a foil baking dish with a few holes poked in them. You can also cook larger pieces of fruits and vegetables right on the grill.

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