COLUMN: Microwave comes in handy during lazy days of summer

— I hope you are enjoying the lazy hazy days of summer. Kick off your shoes, sit on the porch, sip a glass of lemonade or iced tea, and watch the world go by. Grab a book, head out under a shady tree, relax and lose yourself in a good story.

In the morning, tend to your garden then spend time swimming, golfing, traveling, picnicking or visiting friends. If it’s too hot to cook inside, turn the grill on outside and grill your choice of meats and vegetables. Take it easy.

Two of my favorite summer recipes use the microwave. Both recipes make small amounts so your out of the kitchen fast, but end up with very tasty jam and pickles. The jam has the freshest berry taste and spreads so smoothly – it’s perfect on toast! And the pickles are so good and crunchy, they can be used as a side dish. Everyone asks for the recipes once they try them, so keep them close by.

Microwave Strawberry Jam

2 c. strawberries, room temperature

1/2 c. sugar

2 tsp. lemon juice

2 tsp. Surejell

In a two-quart glass bowl, smash berries. Mix in lemon juice. Stir in Surejell until well blended. Cook on high in microwave for three minutes. Remove berries from microwave, add sugar and stir until dissolved. Return to microwave and cook four more minutes. Let stand and cool, and it’s ready to serve.

Microwave Pickles

3 or 4 six-inch pickling cucumbers, thinly sliced

2 small onions, thinly sliced

3/4 c. sugar

1/2 c. cider vinegar

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. celery seed

1/2 tsp. mustard seed

In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine all the ingredients. Microwave, uncovered, at high for three minutes. Stir; cook two to three minutes longer or until mixture is bubbly and cukes and onions are crisp-tender. Cover and refrigerate for at least four hours. Serve with a slotted spoon.

Annette Sica is a resident of Baldwinsville. Years ago, she used to write a column for the Baldwinsville Messenger titled Coffee with Annette and she is happy to be writing cooking columns for her community again.

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