How to celebrate summer

How to celebrate summer

Summer is officially here, and it’s time to make the most of every warm and sunny weekend between now and Labor Day. One of the best ways to celebrate is a backyard barbecue that brings together family and friends.

Here are our seven suggestions for pulling off this summer celebration:

  1. Make plans that allow you to prep as much as you can before the event. Enlist the help of others and make the menu potluck, along with a grilling station for hamburgers and hot dogs. You’ll have a greater variety of foods to serve, and you’ll be able to enjoy your guests on event day if you’re not doing everything by yourself.
  2. Make some of the food kid friendly. Even the pickiest of little eaters will eat hot dogs. Present them as race cars by attaching wheels made of cucumber slices topped with cherry tomato halves to the buns with toothpicks.
  3. Celebrate summer in your tablescapes. Use fresh flowers, which are at their peak now, to add lots of color. Our Flower Market Galvanized containers, trays, and buckets keep that flower theme going and are perfect for holding everything from floral arrangements to utensils to ice for keeping drinks cold.
  4. If you’re celebrating July Fourth, include red, white, and blue in your surroundings and on the menu. Add atmosphere and keep the party going after dark by stringing lights around the table area. And to keep the bugs at bay, add our citronella candles.
  5. Designate a game area for the kids (and the big kids). Set out Frisbees, badminton, and croquet. If the weather is warm enough, there’s nothing like a good old-fashioned water balloon toss.
  6. Be kind to Mother Nature and make cleanup easier. Designate containers for trash, plus recyclable drink cans and bottles.
  7. Finally, try our recipe for Salt Potatoes, a summertime staple in Central New York that started with the Irish immigrants who worked in the salt springs located around Onondaga Lake near Syracuse. Salt from the springs was used to create consumable salt that was distributed throughout the Northeast via the Erie Canal. Legend has it that the Irish immigrants would bring potatoes for their lunches and would boil the potatoes in salt brine.

Salt Potatoes

If you live in Upstate New York, you can pick up a bag of salt potatoes in the produce section at a local grocery store. For everyone else, here’s what you need for this simple but savory dish.

4 pounds small potatoes, such as baby Yukon Gold

2¼ cups kosher salt

1 stick unsalted butter

  1. Add potatoes to 8 cups of water and the kosher salt in a large pot. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 20 to 30 minutes.
  2. Drain the potatoes in a colander and shake to remove excess water. Let the skins dry in the colander so that some of the salt crystallizes.
  3. Melt the butter and serve with the potatoes for dipping.

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