Summer Rain & Spicy Refrigerator Pickles

rainy_dayAfter a string of oppressively hot and humid days, we’re almost happy for summer showers. The garden needs a long, cool drink. And let’s not mention the tempers that started to fray during the steamy heatwave. That said, within a few hours we start to feel housebound and, invariable ask, “Okay, what now?”

When we were kids, a rainy summer day on the Cape meant a trip to the Five and Dime for new paper dolls or sticker books. If the timing was right, we had lunch at the drugstore soda fountain as well. Who wouldn’t want a chocolate milkshake after a morning spent in a damp beach house?

Anyway, I don’t know who invented sticker books. As far as I can figure, they have gone the way of the dinosaur, corded telephone and VCR. Wait a minute; let me amend that to the original sticker books. Unlike today’s stickers that peel off a nice, clean waxy backing, the original stickers came printed on sheets of gluey paper. You cut the stickers out, licked the back and stuck them on paper, the refrigerator or your little sister. Except for the little sister part (since I was she), the result were beee-oooo-teeee-ful pictures. At least my mother always told us they were beautiful.

The only trouble was, within an hour of leaving the store, sometimes sooner, the gluey pages were stuck one onto the other. Humidity will do that. It took what seemed like hours to painstakingly separate the pages. Even worse, more than one favorite sticker was torn in the process.

I suppose Mom was happy because it took us at least twice as long to create half as many beee-oooo-teeee-ful pictures. Well, I suppose she was happy until the tears started to flow because the sticky pages refused to separate. That’s aside from the awful smell, not to mention taste, of stinker glue. Perhaps that’s why they have gone the way of the dinosaur. A couple of nauseous children in a damp beach house on a rainy summer day is definitely not a good thing.

It was enough to send us outside. Barefoot and in bathing suits, out we’d go to splash in the puddles, squeal at yucky worms and dance in the rain. Nothing says happiness like a four year old freed from the confines of a damp beach house and a gluey wad of stickers.

If you find yourself at loose ends on a rainy summer day and are not in the mood for a sticker party, here are a few ideas:

First and foremost, relax. If you are starting to wonder, why you built the screened porch; now you know. Take the weather as a hint to spend the day doing little if anything. You bought that wicker furniture for sprawling, so sprawl and read a book, work a jigsaw puzzle or decorate some flip-flops.

Next, make pickles. Yes, there is such a thing as too much sitting. You’ll know it when your bum starts to go numb. Get off that cute little sofa, grab your umbrella and cruise around town for spices, cucumbers, herbs and Mason jars. While you’re at it, show off your new flip-flops. Once you have everything together, it won’t take long to put up a batch of pickles. Then you can get back to your puzzle … unless …

… Unless, you decide to put on your bathing suit, your beee-oooo-teeee-ful new flip-flops and go out and dance in the rain. Sounds like a great idea to me. Feel free to jump in a few puddles while you are at it.

No matter what the weather, enjoy the summer while you can. Bon appétit!

Spicy_Refrigerator_Pickles_04Spicy Refrigerator Pickles
Make up a batch today in time for your Labor Day Weekend cookouts! Feel free to throw a few radishes or carrot sticks in with the cukes. Enjoy!
Makes 2 quarts

2 pounds small pickling cucumbers
1 medium red onion, cut in half length-wise and then in thin wedges
3-4 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
1 bunch dill, stems included
1-2 bay leaves
3-4 sprigs thyme
3 tablespoons coarse kosher salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
2 teaspoons dill seeds
2 teaspoons whole peppercorns
1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 cup water

Pack the cucumbers, onion, garlic and herbs in a 2-quart or two 1-quart mason jars.

Put the salt, sugar, mustard seeds, dill seeds and peppercorns in saucepan. Add the vinegar and water and, stirring until the sugar dissolves, bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Ladle the pickling liquid and spices into the jar(s) with the vegetables and herbs and cool to room temperature. Cover the jar(s) tightly and refrigerate for one week before serving.

The pickles should keep in the refrigerator for about 3 months.

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Or Click Here! for a complete list of and links to all the recipes on this blog!

What is your favorite way to spend a rainy summer day? Feel free to share. Let’s start a conversation.

Want more? I’ve got links to lots more to read, see & cook. © Susan W. Nye, 2015

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