BEST HERBS FOR THE GRILL
Summer is the season of the barbeque. With the weather so warm and the days so long, it's no wonder we want to work, relax, and even eat outdoors. There’s something about an outdoor grill that just makes food taste better and fresh ingredients play a huge role in creating some of your best meals. When it comes to flavor, fresh herbs from the garden will always taste better than store-bought.
Anyone that’s grown their own food at home will tell you that the flavor can’t be beaten by supermarket produce. Grilling at home minimizes your garden-to-plate time so you can reap the benefits of your garden.
Growing herbs at home is an all-around win. The plants look beautiful, are easy to grow, and your food tastes better with the best ingredients within reach. Herbs are perfect for grazing through the summer. They only grow back more enthusiastically as you trim them back to cook with.
When looking for herbs destined for the dinner plate, look for new growth. The fresher the growth, the more flavor it’ll have. Some of the more woody herbs like rosemary and thyme will be at their best for about 3 years before their flavor and vitality start to change. Even after your herbs have outlived their flavor, though, they’ll retire nicely as ornamental plants.
THE BEST HERBS FOR THE GARDEN
There are so many flavors from across the world to sample in your backyard. Growing the healthiest plants comes down to replicating their natural conditions in your garden as much as you can. Plants from the hot and sandy Mediterranean will have different very different needs from those hailing from the humid tropics. Here are some of our favorite picks for the barbecue:
Rosemary: Rosemary is the king of herbs. It has striking, Mediterranean branches that give you multiple levels of earthy aroma and taste. This is the perfect herb for the barbecue, as its best flavors are only released with heat.
Its savory taste is unique and perfect pairing for with pork, chicken, potatoes, or beef. You may choose to use the whole branch as a garnish on your dish like they do in restaurants, but the taste you’re looking for comes from the leaves, which you can peel off before cooking. Chopping the leaves up will help you to blend them into your dish and save you from chewing them. For a great marinade, you can blend rosemary with olive oil, some balsamic vinegar, a generous amount of garlic, and whatever other spices you enjoy. For a creative twist, try using the rosemary branch as a skewer for kebab recipes.
Thyme: Thyme is the all-season champion of herbs. In the winter it boosts treats like soup and roasted meats. Once the weather gets warmer, it seamlessly transitions to the barbecue with salmon, veggies, and chicken.
Thyme is one of the few herbs that will spill out of their container, making it an aesthetic treat as well as a tasty one, even as you take chunks to season your dishes. Feel free to take whole branches off of this herb, the leaves are easy to peel from the branch directly to your food. As long as you leave two-thirds of the plant behind, it will continue to grow back bigger. For a delicious lemon chicken marinade, whisk together vinegar, olive oil, mustard, honey, and thyme and let your chicken soak for a few hours.
Oregano: Oregano is the original herb of Greek cuisine. Oregano’s versatility makes it such a great herb to have in the garden. Try mixing some fresh oregano into your next barbecue spice rub, or add it to your marinades for pork, poultry, or even seafood all summer. You can take nearly any dish up a notch instantly with just a little sprinkle of some fresh oregano.
This herb is best brought to the spotlight with some fresh lemon flavors or as a great compliment to dishes using other delicious herbs, like basil or rosemary.
MORE BARBECUE TRICKS
We’ve all used a boring, plain brush to spread our barbecue sauce. Add another boost of flavor to your food by cutting sprigs of herbs and bunching them together tightly to make a new and improved basting brush! Our favorites have included rosemary, sage, thyme, and even lavender. The flavor of the herbs will seep into the sauce and meat, adding a tasty, unexpected boost to your dishes.
Herb gardens are a classic for how multi-use they are. Not only is your cooking taken to the next level with the freshest flavors within reach, but they make beautiful and utilitarian container displays. You can plant in your garden, on your patio, or even on your kitchen windowsill. No matter where you plant, enjoy the taste of summer in all of your barbecue dishes with your homegrown herb flavours.