What are you doing this summer? Are you relaxing by the pool? Going to the beach? No? It's too rainy? You don't have enough money for a vacation? Too bad. Me neither. What am I doing? I am basking in the bounty of the summer harvest. Summer in upstate New York is a marvelous time. The produce is so fresh, so yummy, and so overwhelming! My friend Priscilla recently decided to make jam with all the fruit she had around. Blackberries and strawberries, gooseberries, tood been haunting her in her freezer since last summer. I love her strategy: she grows berries, but as they ripen only about a cup at a time, she freezes them until she has enough to make a pie or jam. Well, she procrastinated enough that she had fruit enough to make forty-eight jars of jam! yes, that is forty-eight. It took her ten hours. I helped for two of those hours and she gave me twelve jars. What a great friend. I think I have enough jam to last three years. Too bad you're supposed to use it within a year. I guess we'll have to have lots of trifle, and those homemade english muffins I published the recipe for a while ago.
I can't wait for the fresh, local, vine-ripened tomatos. I love summer tomatos so much that I don't really eat them much the rest of the year. They just don't taste right. The ones in the grocery in January don't make me swoon. A nice, ripe, August tomato had the power to send me practically to the moon with enjoyment.
And corn. There really isn't anything more to say about corn. Don't EVER buy corn at the grocery store if you can help it. Here in God's country we have corn stands every couple of miles. Farmers sometimes set a cart of corn and a coffee can for money at the end of their driveways. If you are lucky enough to have such a place, buy the corn the day you need it. Try making corn chowder. It is fantastic.
There is so much wonderful stuff this time of year, I couldn't possibly talk about all of it. I'll leave you with this recipe, from my mother's best friend. It makes use of the small, gherkin cucumbers that you can grow so easily or buy in huge baskets at the farmer's markets right now. This recipe makes a gallon of pickles, but I have done half a recipe. You could probably also do a quarter recipe. They will keep for a year in the fridge. I don't like to can these, they lose their crunch.
48 hour pickles
3 C vinegar
3 C sugar
1/2 C uniodized (pickling) salt
1 large onion, sliced
1 T mustard seed
1 T celery
1 tsp tumeric
Layer onion and cukes in a gallon jar, mix rest of ingredients and pour over. See if you can make yourself wait the whole forty-eight hours before eating them. I can't.