Flowers are blooming, days are getting longer and temperatures are warmer — you can probably recognize all the signs that grilling season has arrived! But do you know how to best season all the fresh foods you’ll grill this summer?
Sure, a dash of salt and pepper may be all you need for some premium cuts of meat, but creative seasoning with organic spices and herbs can enhance the taste of virtually everything you grill. What’s more, the clean simplicity of organic seasonings perfectly complements the natural healthfulness of grilling.
The organic seasoning experts at Frontier Co-op offer some tips for using seasonings to achieve greater grilling this spring and summer:
Dry or wet? That’s the rub
Two of the most common ways to add seasonings to grilled food is through the use of a rub or marinade. What’s the difference between the two? It’s not just that one is dry and the other wet, because some rubs are wet, too.
Generally, rubs are mixtures of dry spices that you rub on food to add flavor before cooking. They’re good for high-fat foods like meat, and often contain salt and sugar, which also promotes the formation of a crust on the food when you grill it. Usually, after applying a rub you’ll want to let the food sit an hour or two before grilling it.
Marinades are typically liquid seasoned with spices to add flavor to food and sometimes tenderize it. You place the food in the liquid and allow it to sit for a set period of time — a few hours to overnight. When you’re ready to cook, remove the food from the marinade and use a brush or rubber spatula to remove excess marinade before placing the food on the grill. Marinades are great for vegetables and meat, poultry or fish that tend to be dry.
Other ways to spice things up
Of course, seasonings can add flavor to food in multiple ways. For example, if you’re soaking vegetables or fruit before grilling, you can add herbs and spices to the soaking water. In addition to absorbing liquid, the food will also soak up the great flavor of the seasonings.
Some foods benefit from basting during the grilling process. You can enhance the flavor of the food by adding seasonings to the butter or liquid you use for basting. If you use foil packets to steam fish, veggies or fruit on the grill, you can add seasonings directly atop the food before folding the foil, or add them to a bit of liquid at the base of the packet.
Pairing seasonings with food
Some food/seasoning pairings are obvious, like apples and cinnamon or fish and lemon pepper. However, a wide range of seasonings can elevate the flavor of a variety of foods. Here are a few creative pairings to try this summer grilling season:
* Cardamom — Pork, apples, pears, citrus fruits, cabbage and carrots
* Cloves — Beef, pork, sweet potatoes, onions, apples, pears, citrus fruits and peaches
* Cumin — Hamburgers, pork, chicken (marinades), tofu, tempeh and cabbage
* Ginger — Steak, chicken, fish, seafood and fruits
* Marjoram — Burgers, chicken, fish, lamp, poultry and vegetables
* Poppy seed — Potatoes, cabbage, carrots, onions and zucchini
* Saffron — Chicken and fish
* Turmeric — Lamb, beans and zucchini
Try this recipe for Savory Paprika and Chili Rub the next time you grill meat, tofu or vegetables:
Savory Paprika and Chili Rub
1 teaspoon Frontier Organic Ground Paprika
1 teaspoon Frontier Organic Chili Powder
2 teaspoons Frontier Organic Ground Cumin Seed
1 teaspoon Frontier Organic Onion Powder
1 teaspoon Frontier Organic Ground Cayenne Chili Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Frontier Organic Garlic Powder
4 teaspoons olive oil
Mix all ingredients together and rub into meats, poultry or vegetables (or shake onto soft veggies, tofu or tempeh). Then refrigerate for one hour before grilling.
For more grilling seasoning ideas and recipes, visit www.frontiercoop.com.