It's Summer and that means it's time to fire up the grill, invite friends and family over, and enjoy all sorts of savory barbecue recipes. And nothing will get your guests' mouths watering like fresh vegetables and herbs cooked only inches or feet from where they were harvested! No matter if you grow in pots, large containers or in vegetable gardens right by your patio or deck, be sure to plant some grilling favorites nearby and use them throughout the season whenever you cook over a flame.
Burpee has you covered when it comes to the best veggies and herbs for grilling. Here are a few of my favorites plus a couple you might not expect. Vegetables and herbs can be used to flavor up meats and also as standalone meals - whatever you prefer or the recipe calls for.
Eggplant: Both Patio Baby and Meatball are perfect for slicing and grilling. Peel and slice them, brush with butter and seasonings, and grill until tender. You'll love the way they look with grill marks and your friends will love the flavor.
Zucchini: Burpee Hybrid is a top seller and Smooth Pickin' lets you harvest pain-free - and both make for super tasty grilling. Quarter them lengthwise and brush with olive oil, seasoning and a little bit of lemon juice. Grill a few minutes on each side and serve. Be sure to save a couple off to the side for the grillmaster because they always go fast.
Bell Pepper: Candy Apple, Baron, Big Daddy Hybrid and the old classic Great Stuff Hybrid are all fantastic additions to your favorite kabobs. And who doesn't love grilled kabobs in the Summer? Slice them up, add some oil, salt and black pepper, and grill them skin side up for the best taste.
Those three are the obvious ones, right? How about a few curveballs? (Hope you caught the baseball reference — the second best thing about Summer…)
Tomato: Big Daddy, Brandy Boy Hybrid, Black Krim are good choices. How to grill? Slice them in half, brush oil on the cut side and place that side down on a piece of foil on the grill. Close the lid for a few minutes and voila - tasty grilled tomatoes.
Broccoli: This is one of my go-tos for family meals. Cut the heads up like you would normally, add some oil and seasoning, wrap in foil and throw the package on the grill while cooking chicken, steak, burgers or any other meat. The smoky flavor and moist florets will be a hit with friends and family.
Lettuce: I think Little Caesar would work well. Cut the head in half, drip some oil on it and grill until the edges start to get crispy. Then take the half heads off and drizzle with lemon juice for a fresh, grilled Summer salad.
Last but not least, when you plant herbs, keep the pots or raised bed close to your grill. Fresh herbs add wonderful flavor to all grilled meats from steak to chicken to pork and beyond. Aptly named Barbecue Rosemary is an obvious choice, along with Bouquet Dill, Summer Thyme and Tricolor Sage. All can be grown easily in patio containers and enjoyed pretty much all Summer long.
To wrap it up, as you're planting veggies and herbs this Spring and Summer, be sure to stagger your plant dates a couple weeks apart to make sure you have fresh vegetables and herbs throughout the Summer and into Fall. And keep them close to your grill for handy access during the best outdoor eating months of the year.