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Guess what I don’t have at work? Air conditioning. Guess what I am not doing when I get home? Cooking anything in the house. 

I’ve been feeling like a wet rag at the end of the day. Air conditioning at work is out of the question because I’m heating giant 400-gallon vats with a boiler and steam at Crystal Ball Farms dairy, pasteurizing milk. In the winter it will be a tropical paradise, but now when I get home, I want to chill—literally!

My family will be eating ice blocks for dinner unless dinner is cooked outside. But what about dessert?  Not an easy thing to cook outside. Anything high in sugar, such as cake, tends to burn on the grill. Fruit has a high water content and a lower amount of naturally occurring sugar, making it perfect for the grill.

Warm fruit in summer? No Bueno! With warm fruit the flavor profile is limited, and the sour flavors are accentuated. The subtle “fruity” nuances become muted. Letting the fruit cool before serving will help the unique tastes shine and keep you cool.

It’s easy to cook any kind of fruit over a grill or fire. I cook it before my meat or starch and move it to the side when I cook a steak or veggies. Depending on the fruit and the temperature of your campfire or grill, it can take up to 40 minutes to bake or soften. Apples take the longest, but cherries, peaches, and pineapple only take a few minutes. 

On hot summer days, there is nothing like lightly cooked fresh fruit over a frozen bowl of vanilla ice cream or a cool bowl of yogurt or fresh ricotta cheese with Buster Poindexter singing in the background…hot, hot, hot!

Campfire Peaches

Serves 6

3-4 large peaches (or pineapple, cherries, blueberries, raspberries, or apples), peeled and sliced

1/4 cup butter, melted

1/2 cup maple syrup 

1 cup pecans, toasted

Build a fire or heat a grill to approximately 400 degrees. Shape two large pieces of heavy-duty foil into a shallow bowl for the fruit mixture and set aside. 

In a large bowl, combine fruit, syrup, and butter. Pour into the prepared foil. Bring edges together, but do not seal completely. Place on a cooking sheet to transport to grill or fire. Carefully place on a grate over the fire. Cook until some of the fruit is tender. Remove and cool completely. 

Serve with vanilla ice cream and top with nuts. 

Lisa Erickson is a food columnist who loves adventure and food. You can find more recipes at www.wild-chow.com or email her at wildchowrecipes@gmail.com.

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