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Summer Food: Melons, Fresh Pesto, Apricot Jam

Melons, homemade root beer and apricot jam — these are some of the foods that mean "summer" to you.

Last month, we asked listeners to tell us their summer food stories.

Peter Stoll of East Chatham, N.Y., told us about melon-hunting during summer camp. He remembered those hunts ending with "ripe, icy-cold honeydews and cantaloupes dripping with juice."

Several listeners mentioned pesto, including Don Beyer of Marshfield, Wis.

Beyer follows his mother's recipe, using basil and Italian parsley from his own garden, plus garlic, pine nuts, black pepper, salt and parmesan cheese. He mixes all that with the best olive oil he can afford. And, since pesto freezes well, he gets to defrost a bit of summer, even during the coldest Wisconsin winter.

Salt Lake City resident Joanne Slotnik's favorite summer food involves a beautiful setting and a lot of hard work.

Slotnik and her family pick the fruit each July in Capitol Reef National Park in Fruita, Utah; fill every available container with apricots; wash, pit and halve them; boil, skim and stir; and jar and admire — and enjoy — the finished product.

Even though Slotnik describes it as "apricot jam hell," she and her family do it again, and again.

"I decided it's like childbirth. You're sick of it, hate it right after it happens, you hate the pain of it, but then a year later you don't remember that," Slotnik tells Michele Norris. "You remember the good parts and you've enjoyed this wonderful jam all winter, and the next season comes around, and you think 'How can I not do it?'"

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