DIY and latest topics
DIY and latest topics
Having the right tools can make grilling a much more efficient task, and with some of the latest technological gadgets you could even control what is happening at the grill from your smart phone.
If you are a serious grill master, you will have a set of tools to handle what’s cooking on the grill. You can buy the tools individually or buy a set that includes several. Some basics are a fork, a basting brush, sharp knife, spatula, and tongs (best or meats like steak and chicken so juices don’t run out). Stainless steel will last you the longest and be easy to clean and you may want a steak thermometer also.
Baskets & Racks
Depending on what you grill, you may want some grill baskets to keep food from falling through the grate. There are round baskets with lids, square connected racks, and skillet like pans with holes in them to allow heat in. Baskets are great for chopped vegetables, shrimp, tomatoes and other small items. The racks are great for corn, lobster, chicken fingers, and whole fish.
Mats and Grates
Mats are great when you are camping or just want to grill foods you wouldn’t normally grill like bacon, eggs, or pancakes. A cast iron sear grate lets you get grill marks on your food without having to rotate it. You can even find stainless steel steam trays to use on the grill.
These interesting thermometers connect with your smart phone through Bluetooth and with the application, let you monitor what’s happening on the grill from a distance, but it only works if your signal remains active. Most Bluetooth thermometers come with one probe, but you can usually buy additional ones to add so that you know which one is in which piece of meat when you are grilling different meats.
If your grill stays outside, you may want to consider a water resistant cover to protect it from the weather. Grill covers can block dirt, water and sun from your gas grill and come in a variety of fabrics like polyester and marine grade outdoor
Plan to practice crop rotation. That is, don’t plant vegetables in the same place where you planted them last year. Each vegetable uses different minerals in the soil, so planting the same vegetables in the same spot each year will provide you with weaker slower producing vegetables as the soil won’t have the needed nutrients.
Move Them Each Year
Best practice is to move your vegetables to another spot every year for three years and add compost to the garden in the fall and spring. Next, where vegetables have depleted the soil, plant cover crops in the fall that replenish the nutrients in the soil.
For example, tomatoes need high nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, so don’t plant them where you grew potatoes, peppers and eggplant because these plants have used up the nutrients the tomatoes need.
Peas and Beans
Nitrogen fixing plants such as peas and beans take nitrogen from the air and store it in the plant’s roots. When the plant is done producing and dies, the nitrogen is released into the soil for the plants that follow. Planting winter cover crops such as clover, annual rye, or winter peas will also replenish nutrients to the soil. Cover crops can then be turned under in your garden, or you can cut them back and plant new plants right through them.
Another reason to rotate crops is to prevent the spread of plant disease. Disease organisms can build up over time and cause crop failure. Also, rotating crops helps reduce insect infestations.
Track Your Plantings Each Year
Divide your garden into sections and plant a different plant family in each section every year. Suggested groups would be (1) plants grown for leaves or flowers, such as salad greens and broccoli; (2) plants grown for fruits such as tomatoes and peppers; (3) plants grown for roots such as carrots and onions, (4) plants that feed the soil such as peas, beans and cover crops.
For a very handy four step rotation plan check out this website: https://www.todayshomeowner.com/vegetable-garden-crop-rotation-made-easy/
The first thing in becoming a grill master is to have the right grill. Consider things like how often do you grill? Do you like the flavor of charcoal or would a gas grill suit your needs better? Consider what you grill. Are you simply a meat griller, or do you have a vast array of delicious vegetables and meats that you grill often?
Clean the Grate
Start with a clean grill. Leftover bits of meat and vegetables aren’t going to enhance your food. An easy way to clean is to brew a full pot of coffee. Pour it into a basin and soak your grill grates for 60-75 minutes. Give them a quick scrub; rinse with warm water and they’ll be good as new.
Oil the grate with a paper towel soaked in olive oil. This will help keep chicken, fish, and port from sticking to the grill. You can also oil the meat and vegetables before adding to the grate. If you’re using propane, make sure you have enough fuel to last till the food is cooked.
Handling the Food
Always use tongs to move food around on the grill. Piercing with a fork drains the juices. Use a basket or grill clips for small items like carrots and cut up zucchini. Grill water-based vegetables like bell peppers and onions directly over the heat but put dense vegetables like sliced potatoes or eggplant far away from the heat on the edges of the grate.
Cross hatch grill marks are the grill master’s signature. To prepare steaks, rub with olive oil, salt and pepper, place the steaks on the grill and let cook for a few minutes. Using tongs, turn the food 90 degrees and cook a few minutes more. Turn over and repeat on the other side. When finished, place on a plate or board and let rest a few minutes before cutting.
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