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How to Use a Smoker to Elevate Your Fruit Salad

If you think your smoker is meant only for smoking brisket, pulled pork, and other proteins, it is time to reconsider. Putting fruit into your smoker is a creative culinary endeavor that can quickly bring new flavors to your sweet salads and fruit-forward side dishes. After tasting smoked produce, you may find yourself stashing seasonal fruits and veggiesalike into your smoker to upgrade tonight’s mint and melon fruit salad with increasing regularity.

Keep in mind that delicate, softer fruits like blueberries, bananas, and strawberries won’t necessarily be able to handle extended time in the sauna that is your smoker. You can save those pieces for snack time and reach for firmer pieces of fruit like apples and pears. Stone fruits like peaches, cherries, and nectarines can be cut, smoked, and thrown into salads without turning into withered disappointments. These kinds of durable fruits can better withstand the smoking process and can be used to elevate the quinoa fruit salads and apple harvest salads you have planned for your next dinner party menu. 

Your ticket to a smoke show of a salad

apples in pan in smoker

Shaiith/Shutterstock

Since fruits are more delicate than sturdier proteins, keep an eye on the oiled pieces once placed inside the smoker. You can use a skewer to check for tenderness and remove the produce once smoked. In addition to choosing fruits carefully, consider the kinds of wood chips you use to heat up your smoker. Apple, citrus, sugar maple, cherry, pecan, almond, and peach wood chips can lend the right amount of smoky sweetness to your produce. Depending on the smoker that you own, you may need to adjust the temperature to accommodate your chosen fruit – somewhere in the 200 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit range can suffice — and restock wood chips throughout the cooking process as needed.

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After you’ve familiarized yourself with the smoking process, you can experiment with coating your next batch of smoked fruit with seasonings and spice blends for an added boost of flavor. Your next fruit and avocado salad will take on a new life with the seasoned smoky inclusions. With smoked pieces of fruits at the ready, you’ll have an instant flavor enhancer that you can toss into salads, serve as a side, or use to add a surprisingly delicious element to dessert.

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