Native Cooking: Popsicles, Popcorn With Peanuts, and Other Summer Favorites

iStock /This sweet and salty popcorn recipe that includes peanuts and pine nuts, and is easy to make and take along to any party this summer.

I’ve grown up a little since leaning on the handlebars of my bike letting the red popsicle drip down my arm.

My mom gave me an orange one but I found a quarter in the pocket of my jeans and couldn’t resist the jingle of the ice cream truck. Another liquid that more often than not dripped down my arm was ripe plum or peach juice. Maybe it’s the GMOs, but I haven’t tasted a decent delicious juicy peach or plum in many years.

Berries of all kinds are easy to pick and easy to eat, not so the summer icon, watermelon, another dripper. Watermelon is a good, healthy fruit that contains a lot of vitamin C, beta carotene, fiber and potassium. Those big black seeds have been pretty much been bred out of watermelon now but as kids we had spitting contests with them—how far, in a circle, in someone’s hair.

We have to forgive ourselves once in a while for not eating as healthy as we should. Summer wouldn’t be summer without a few fried junk food specials.

In summer, sitting down to a table full of hot food on a plate all “formal-ish” isn’t as much fun or pretty as sampling a selection of cold salads or cheeses and breads. A cold platter of shrimp, chicken, or deli meats is great if everything is kept cold. Grazing snacks are the best. Things like tahini, guacamole, and salsa can keep your appetite satisfied so you likely won’t want to have three full meals a day. Flavored popcorn is another light and fun snack; it’s also a good take along if you’ve been asked to bring something to a party.

Popcorn with Peanuts and Pine Nuts

12 cups of popped corn

1 cup brown sugar

½ cup dark corn syrup

½ cup butter

½ cup pine nuts

½ cup peanuts

Dash salt

Grease 2 jelly rolls (they have 1-inch lips) with cooking spray. Heat brown sugar, butter and corn syrup in a small saucepan. Simmer and stir for 1 minute, pour over popcorn carefully to coat. Bake for 25 minutes at 325 degrees. Add the peanuts and salt after baking.

Dale Carson, Abenaki, is the author of three books: “New Native American Cooking,” “Native New England Cooking” and “A Dreamcatcher Book.” She has written about and demonstrated Native cooking techniques for more than 30 years. Dale has four grown children and lives with her husband in Madison, Connecticut.

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