Once you’ve purchased your locally grown vegetables with your EBT SNAP card, the question becomes how should you cook them? The best way to eat vegetables in the summer is to grill them. Not only can you enjoy the summer weather and cook outside, but it can be done in less than 30 minutes. To grill to perfection this summer follow these tips:
- Know them.
Some vegetables are grown for the grill, while others do not fare so well. It is important to know which vegetables are best for the grill and how long they take to cook. Asparagus, corn, eggplant, mushrooms, peppers, onions and cabbage are great grilling vegetables. Squash, tomatoes, potatoes, zucchini, and even romaine work well on the grill as well but beware of their cooking times. Denser vegetables like potatoes will take much longer where tomatoes grill quickly. Make sure to avoid grilling cucumbers, celery, and most leafy greens. Their high water content makes them hard to grill.
- Coat them.
When grilling vegetables, it is important to always coat them in cooking oil or marinade. Without oil, the vegetables will dry up when heated. Before grilling, make sure to toss your vegetables lightly in cooking oil or marinade and add some seasoning for flavor. Avoid adding too much because dripping oil can cause flare-ups and off flavors. The correct amount of cooking oil or marinade will keep your vegetables tender and help the seasoning stick.
- Cut them.
To minimize grill time, you want to make sure your vegetables have the most surface area touching the grill. Cut your larger vegetables in decent-sized chunks to maximize surface area. You don’t want to cut them too small or they will fall through the grill. Cutting your vegetables to similar thicknesses will also help them cook more evenly. Another tip to cooking vegetables more evenly is to separate your dense and delicate vegetables. Individually, sear each grouping over high heat then move them to a cooler part of the grill to finish cooking.
- Kabob them.
Sometimes you can’t cut your vegetables into decent-sized pieces. Small vegetables like cherry tomatoes are prone to rolling around on the grill. To prevent them from falling, use a skewer and make kabobs with other small vegetables. Smaller pieces cook must faster than larger pieces on the grill. Placing your vegetables on a skewer is the best way to grill vegetables quick.
- Place them.
If your vegetables are too big for a skewer, use a grilling pan. A grilling pan is the perfect tool to keep vegetables from burning. Separate your dense and delicate vegetables in individual pans to account for varying cooking times. Watch each pan closely until the desired tenderness is reached. Remember, denser vegetables will take much longer to cook. If you do not have a grilling pan, aluminum foil can work as well to form small grilling baskets.
Now you’re ready to get grilling! Put your grilling skills to the test and try this recipe for Balsamic Grilled Vegetable Salad.
Check out what is being picked this week*:
Broccoli, Beans, Zucchini, Cherries, Raspberries, Rhubarb, Beets, Cabbage, Cucumbers, Kale, Lettuce, Swiss Chard, Scallions & Snap Peas
*Availability will vary by market due to differences in growing zones.
Recipe of the week:
Cherries are more than an Ice Cream Sundae Topper. Check out this cherry-filled sweet summer snack!