Get Ready to Grill for the Fourth of July with Fresh Finds from the Farmers Market!!

What better time to fire up the grill than the 4th of July? And while hot dogs and hamburgers may be synonymous with this holiday’s meal plan, we invite you to explore the plethora of produce options fresh from the Farmers Market and perfect for the grill. From familiar favorites like fresh grilled corn on the cob and veggie skewers, to more unusual grill fare like stone fruits and melons, there are a ton of delicious options for you to choose from in order to serve up a top notch eating experience for your friends and family this 4th of July!

Starting with fruit selections, we’ll finish up with our top veggie picks (make sure you check out the recipe links and ideas at the bottom of both sections):

 

Grilled Fruit:

One of the biggest missed opportunities in the world of grilling, many fruits are actually ideal for a nice sear on the grill. When fruit is grilled the natural sugars are caramelized, bringing out even richer flavoring. This enriched sweetness also pairs well with many of your more savory selections for the grill: stone fruits make great partners with cuts of steak and pork, while grilled tropical fruit salsas are the perfect topping for grilled fish, chicken and seafood. So get ready to have some fun on the grill, and enjoy some of the best flavors of summer!

Here’s a quick run down of Top Chef’s tips and tricks for grilling with these summertime fruity favorites:

Bananas: Great as a sweet appetizer or snack and perfect as a desert (think “grilled” banana split), the grilled banana is fast becoming a favorite. Cut in half lengthwise and with your cut side down, grill for 2-3 minutes. (Hint: Once you get a nice grill mark, move to the cooler side of your grill to heat the rest of the way through without it burning or turning to mush).

Cantalope: Is an ideal melon to grill for a sweet treat or to transform into a full on dessert. Cut your cantalope into slices or wedges 1-2″ thick and grill over high heat for between 1-2 minutes on each side (or until you have nice char marks). Great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and drizzled with honey.

Pineapple: Under the intense heat of the grill Pineapple’s natural acidity and tanginess blossom into a superbly aromatic sweetness. It can fill a variety of grilled roles, from simple skewers to sides for heartier meats like steaks to lighter seafood and fish dishes, as well as holding its own solo (with a bit of brown sugar) for a tasty dessert. Cut into slices or wedges and cook both sides for 2-3 mins or until the surface starts to caramelize and a nice grill mark is achieved.

Stone Fruits: Peaches, Apricots, Plums, and Nectarine all make the cut. In addition to being a dessert favorite (especially Peaches), the juicy sweetness of stone fruits makes them a great pairing for both savory and sweet applications. They partner especially well with pork and beef, as well with greens, nuts, and cheeses (making them a great choice for salads). To prep, cut them in half, leaving the skin on and removing the pit. Grill them with the cut side down for 2-3 minutes or until the surface starts to caramelize and nice grill marks are achieved (for larger fruits move them to the cooler side of the grill for an additional 1-2 minutes to finish heating and tenderizing all the way through).

Watermelon: A staple of the summertime BBQ, its also a great addition to the grill. Whether paired with other grilled fruits on skewers and in salads, or grilled as a “Watermelon Steak” this juicy melon can go sweet or savory depending on how its prepared. Cut into large wedges and grill for 2-3 minutes on each side.

From Melons to Bananas, here are some of our favorite recipe links from the web, exploring the lighter side of grilled fruity fare:

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 Clockwise from Upper Left:

Grilled Grapefruit from The Foodie Corner

Grilled Prosciutto Wrapped Melon from Martha Stewart

Grilled Watermelon and Feta Stacked Salads from Cooking for Keeps

Maple Pecan Grilled Bananas from Weight Watchers

Grilled Pineapple Mango Salsa from She Wears Many Hats

Grilled Pork Pineapple Tacos from Martha Stewart

Grilled Stone Fruit Sensations: Some of our favorite grilling recipes from the web, featuring an assortment of delicious stone fruits:

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 Clockwise from Upper Left:

Grilled Nectarines with Mascarpone Cream from Eating Well

Grilled Stone Fruit Salad with Watermelon Radish & Goat Cheese from SoFab Food

Balsamic Goat Cheese Grilled Plums from Taste of Home

Grilled Stone Fruit Salad from The Tablespoon

Grilled Fruit Salad with Creamy Goat Cheese Topping from The Tablespoon

Grilled Plum Salad with Maple-Nut Clusters from the Floating Kitchen

 

Grilled Veggies:

We’ve got a wide range of seasonal favorite vegetables perfect for your grilling pleasure, some of which you may not normally think of in terms of the grill. Top Picks from the Intuitive Forager for your Fourth of July include:

Corn on the Cob – You can’t go wrong with this classic and our current crop at the markets is especially tender, sweet, and delicious. Pull the husks back and try one of your favorite spice rubs along the kernels then fold the husks back up and grill them with the husks on.

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Intuitive Forager, Kerry Clasby, on the Malibu Fig Ranch with Summer Squash

Summer Squash Mix (also from the Malibu Fig Ranch) – Summer Squash varietals are another ideal candidate for your grill (where their tender texture can be preserved without turning mushy). Slice length wise or into medallions (leave the skin on) and grill with flesh side down and serve as part of a grilled vegetable platter, or dice into 1-2 inch chunks and grill for additions into salads, or on skewers. Hint: try marinating after you grill your squash if looking for a crisper texture.

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Fairy Tale Eggplant from the Malibu Fig Ranch

Eggplant and Candy Cane Beets freshly foraged from the Malibu Fig Ranch. Both are not always first thoughts for the grill, but the natural sweetness of Beets is brought out and caramelized under the heat of the grill while Eggplant’s ideal tender texture is easy to achieve on the grill (Eggplant “Steaks” are also a great option for those vegetarians in your family, as the flesh easily absorbs those flavors its marinated in).

An assortment of our favorite recipes from the web featuring creative uses for your grilled veggies:

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 Clockwise from Upper Left:

Grilled Corn with Cilantro Lime Butter from A Taste of Home

Grilled Vegetable Platter from Damn Delicious

Spicy Grilled Eggplant from A Taste of Home

Grilled Veggie Skewers with Chimichurri Sauce from the Minimalist Baker

Grilled Goat Cheese and Beet Sandwich with Arugula & Lavender Honey from Edible Arizona

Grilled Summer Squash and Peaches with Blue Cheese and Herbs from Things I Made Today