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Grilled pineapple is a dessert made by marinating slices of pineapple and preparing them on the grill. The grilling process softens the fruit and caramelizes the natural sugars inside, creating a very distinctive flavor which some people find quite enjoyable. Grilled pineapple can be eaten hot or cold, and it is classically served after summer meals, especially meals with a tropical theme. Some people also serve grilled pineapple as an appetizer, often with the goal of keeping guests entertained while the bulk of the meal cooks.
Pineapple is naturally high in vitamin C, making it a healthy in addition to flavorful dessert. For people who experience discomfort when they eat fresh pineapple because of the enzymes in the fruit, cooking helps to break down these enzymes, reducing irritation to the lips and tongue.
To make grilled pineapple, it is ideal to use a fresh pineapple, rather than canned pineapple, which tends to be soft and sometimes mushy. The pineapple should be peeled, cored, and sliced in such a way that the pineapple slices are big, ensuring that they will not fall through the slats of the grill if they cook. It is also possible to use a grilling cage, essentially a small metal mesh box, to grill pineapple. Some cooks also simply add pineapple to grilled kebabs, another way to prepare grilled pineapple.
Marinades for grilled pineapple can be quite varied. A classic Caribbean marinade includes rum and sugar, which will caramelize nicely and sometimes create a little crust around the pineapple as it grills. Lemon juice, paprika, and a dash of sugar can also be used for a more spicy marinade, and cooks can also use various Asian-inspired marinades, or invent their own, with ingredients like honey, lemon juice, cinnamon, and so forth.
Once the slices of pineapple hit the grill, they usually only require about a minute or so on each side. The goal is to soften the fruit slightly while warming it through and partially caramelizing it. If the fruit is allowed to cook too long, it can develop a mushy texture, and the flavors of the fruit and marinade will run together, sometimes resulting in a rather bland end product. Cooks who use rum marinades may want to be aware that their pineapple slices can catch fire. This is completely normal, and the heat is not enough to damage or burn the pineapple, so the flames should simply be allowed to go out on their own.