Memorial Day is the unofficial start of the summer. But it’s an unusual Memorial Day, and an unusual summer. While this year’s fest may not look like last year’s, we’ve got solid advice on making the most of it. But before we get there:

  • We’ve got the best online events this week, including Michelle Obama’s virtual prom, the PHLove concert, Hannah Gadsby’s Douglas, and more: inquirer.com/calendar. And our kids calendar is updated every Sunday with ways to keep the kids occupied while you work: inquirer.com/kidscalendar.
  • Planting something feels like hope for the future right now. If you need supplies, Grace Dickinson found places in Philly, the burbs and South Jersey where you can buy soil, seeds, plants and more. Most do delivery or pickup. Here’s the full list for all your aspirational garden needs.
  • How to do (everything) better: Everything you need to know about living right now is all here in one place: inquirer.com/topic/do-this

Stay healthy, stay safe, and, as much as possible, stay home.

When grilling vegetables, like the shiitakes and eggplant pictured here, Laser Wolf executive chef Andrew Henshaw emphasizes that you should treat them just like you would meat. Give them some thought, ample seasoning, and time to marinade.
Courtesy Michael Persico
When grilling vegetables, like the shiitakes and eggplant pictured here, Laser Wolf executive chef Andrew Henshaw emphasizes that you should treat them just like you would meat. Give them some thought, ample seasoning, and time to marinade.

Your questions, answered

Celebrate this

Top of mind: What can I do for my Memorial Day cookout this year? Elizabeth Wellington dug into what the rules and the risks are.

Remember: This won’t be forever. And, with any luck, the fourth of July will be a more social occasion.

Eat this

Now is the time to eat more plants. Whether you’re worried about meat shortages, or just want to find ways to eat greener, Grace Dickinson found out how to make veg the star of the show. She started with the barbecue, since it seems like the weekend for that. Here are some all-around useful tips; follow them, and you won’t miss the burgers.

  • Treat vegetables with the same care you treat meat. Seasoning is crucial. If you prepare them properly, they can make a satisfying main.
  • Salt veggies with higher moisture content to eliminate excess water. Sprinkle salt over cut veggies and let sit in a strainer. Drain well before proceeding.
  • Allow time for marinating. Four to six hours is a good start, but overnight is ideal to let the flavors penetrate the vegetables.
  • Hit veggies with a squeeze of lemon just before they come off the grill.
  • A veggie basket will make your life easier. This simple tool lets you toss and flip without fear of anything slipping through the grate.

More tips, plus mouthwatering recipes for shiitake mushroom skewers, cauliflower steaks with beer-raisin glaze, grilled eggplant with spicy chimichurri and more in the full article here.

Store this

Yeah, we hear you, you don’t need more housework right now. But if you store things properly in your fridge, you’ll save time, money, and your food will taste better. Grace Dickinson found out how to do it right, and the rest of us learned how we’ve been doing it wrong. Here are a few expert tips:

  • Don’t put your milk in the door. The door is often the warmest part of a refrigerator. In other words, it’s not the place to stash your perishables, including milk and eggs.
  • Keep your cheese away from your cherries Dedicate a drawer for dairy. If you don’t have the room, just be sure to stash your cheddar away from your produce, which pick up flavors of nearby foods (especially cherries)
  • Store meat on the lowest shelf. Chicken, salmon, steak: They should all go on the bottom level. “This is usually the coldest part of your refrigerator," says Rosemary Trout, program director of culinary arts and food science at Drexel University.
  • Use drawers to save produce from wilting and spoiling Most refrigerator drawers have adjustable humidity vents, which allow you to close off the airflow (creating more humidity) or open it up (decrease the humidity). More humidity will help keep things from wilting. And close the vents for produce that releases ethylene, a gas that’s released as certain fruits ripen, like apples, kiwis, peaches, and pears. Ethylene can cause other produce to ripen or spoil more quickly, so you want to prevent it from flowing to other parts of the fridge.