This year's summer solstice, the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, will be on Friday, June 21, 2013 — giving us that much needed excuse to get out of the office and enjoy the longest summer evening of the year.

The solstice marks the point of the year when the northern hemisphere is tilted the most towards the sun and marks the official first day of summer. For all of you who believe in a flat earth, it marks that time of year when the giant dragon that wheels around the earth takes a smoke break (or something along those lines).

According to Timeanddate.com, Toronto, for example, will see 15 hours and 26 minutes of daylight with sunset at 9:03 p.m.

The solstice is celebrated by many European cultures as well. Midsummer festivities are popular in Scandinavia and included customs such as dancing around a midsummer pole, decorating your homes with wreaths and a big meal, preferably while basking in the long northern evening.

Thousands go to England's Stonehenge on the morning of the solstice to celebrate the day.

Of course, these pagan traditions were co-opted by the Catholic church. In many places the summer solstice also coincides (or comes close to) the feast day of St. John. Canadians, and Quebecers in particular, are familiar with the holiday. Quebecers know it as St. Jean Baptiste Day and they celebrate it June 24.

Of course, if you live in the southern hemisphere, June 21 marks the winter solstice. New Zealanders in Auckland, the largest city in that country, will see just over 9 hours and 37 minutes of daylight.

Looking for something to eat or drink for your next summer outing? Check out some of our tips below

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  • Summer Recipes And Tips

    What To Grill? How To Avoid Burger Fails, Summer Cocktails and more

  • Tangy Blueberries

    Grill blueberries by injecting them with spiced rum or whisky and throw them on the grill over foil or a grill-safe tray, says <a href="http://www.tedreader.com/" target="_blank">chef and grill master Ted Reader.</a> "Once they begin to dance and bounce, squeeze an orange over them."

  • Barbecue Sauce

    If you're looking for a healthier barbecue sauce alternative, make your own. This <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/barbecue-sauce_n_1055245.html" target="_blank">recipe by Australian celebrity chef Curtis Stone combines soy sauce, pineapple and red onions for a sweet yet tangy taste.</a>

  • Grilled Cabbage

    This recipe isn't vegetarian-approved: The cabbage head is stuffed with bacon and onions, soaked with butter and barbecue sauce, and grilled. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/barbecued-cabbage_n_1049688.html" target="_blank">Get the recipe here.</a>

  • BBQ Ribs

    These barbecued pork ribs are cooked "low and slow" until a flavourful crust surrounds the meat. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/the-cooks-ribs_n_1058114.html" target="_blank">Get the recipe here. </a>

  • Frog Legs

    Reader is also a fan of grilling frog legs over the grill. If you're wondering what they taste like, no, they <a href="http://julesfood.blogspot.com/2010/06/bbq-frog-legs.html" target="_blank">don't taste exactly like chicken.</a> <a href="http://julesfood.blogspot.com/2010/06/bbq-frog-legs.html" target="_blank">Get a recipe here by Jules Food.</a>

  • Grilled Chicken Skewers

    These grilled chicken skewers are made with a flavourful garlic sauce and fresh lime juice. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/13/finding-happiness_n_3254794.html?1368453595" target="_blank">Get the recipe here.</a>

  • Roasted Bananas

    This one is great for the kids, Reader says. Roast or smoke bananas over your grill and use them as a spread over raisin bread.

  • Smoky Buffalo Burger

    If you're tired of traditional beef burgers, go with bison. Instead of melted cheese on top, this recipe uses cheese to season the meat, adding that much-needed moisture. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/smoky-buffalo-burger_n_1056677.html" target="_blank">Get the recipe here. </a>

  • Foie Gras

    If you're a fan of foie gras, try it on the grill, Reader says. This <a href="http://www.cookstr.com/recipes/grilled-foie-gras-with-roasted-pears-and-spice-syrup-with-sauternes-jelly" target="_blank">recipe by Cookstr uses roasted pears and spiced syrup.</a>

  • Fiddleheads

    A true Canadian treat, Reader suggests grilling fiddleheads with your favourite BBQ sauce or spices.

  • Burger Fails

    How to make your burgers the talk of the party!

  • This Burger Is A Beautiful Burger

    But it doesn't always work out like this, does it? If your burger came out less than ideal, we've found some examples to make you feel just a little bit better, comparatively. <em>Photo via Flickr user <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/jdrephotography/8406839593/sizes/z/in/photostream/" target="_blank">jdrephotography</a></em>

  • Did You Slather Your Burger In Curry Sauce?

    We love curry. We love burgers. They are separate foods. <em>Photo via <a href="http://imgur.com/MNi50TA" target="_blank">Imgur</a></em>

  • Guys, TOAST The Bun

    Toast. Don't singe. <em>Image via Flickr user <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/pyxopotamus/4903007237/sizes/z/in/photostream/" target="_blank">me and the sysop</a></em>

  • Did You Buy Hockey Pucks Instead Of Meat By Accident?

    <em>Photo via <a href="http://imgur.com/ugLllpR" target="_blank">Imgur</a></em>

  • Powerful Evidence That Burgers And Eggs Should Be Cooked Separately

    Breakfast burgers? Yes please. But... there are rules. <em>Photo via <a href="http://imgur.com/cXb4a" target="_blank">Imgur</a></em>

  • Did You Put Your Burgers On Artificially Colored Buns Just For Fun?

    As the original poster, Reddit user durianno said, "I tried the new Black and White Burgers from McDonald's. I highly recommend not doing so yourself." <em>Photo via <a href="http://imgur.com/ySQyK3N" target="_blank">Imgur</a></em>

  • Okay, Everyone -- This Is Not The Color We Are Shooting For

    Is your burger still the color of meat? You're doing okay, then. <em>Photo via Flickr user <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/shuttercat7/910021967/sizes/z/in/photostream/" target="_blank">grafixtek</a></em>

  • No, No

    That's not it either. <em>Photo via Flickr user <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/khawkins04/5969315133/sizes/z/in/photostream/" target="_blank">khawkins04</a></em>

  • This Burger Is Wrapped In Turkey Bacon

    The point of wrapping something in bacon is to impart flavor AND FAT. Turkey bacon is invalid. <em>Photo via Flickr user <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/mesohungry/5069165412/sizes/z/in/photostream/" target="_blank">jasonlam</a></em>

  • Seriously, Guys

    <em>Photo via Flickr user <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/mesohungry/5069166100/sizes/z/in/photostream/" target="_blank">jasonlam</a></em>

  • This Burger Is Made Out Of Turkey

    You want to make a burger out of turkey? Fine. Don't say we didn't warn you. <em>Photo via Flickr user <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/theimpulsivebuy/5667081564/sizes/z/in/photostream/" target="_blank">theimpulsivebuy</a></em>

  • OH NO

    What. Are. Those. <em>Photo via Flickr user <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/afiler/225794227/sizes/z/in/photostream/" target="_blank">afiler</a></em>

  • Sprouts? Fail.

    THERE IS A TIME AND A PLACE FOR SPROUTS, GUYS. <em>Photo via Flickr user <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/waytru/986989598/sizes/z/in/photostream/" target="_blank">WayTru</a></em>

  • Did You Cover Your Grill With Foil For Some Reason?

    No? You're doing better than these guys.

  • Did You Set Your Burgers/Grill/House/Best Friend On Fire?

    No? You're doing better than these people!

  • Veggie Burger Recipes

    Why should meat-eaters have all the fun?

  • BBQ Cheddar Chickpea Burgers

    Get the <a href="http://www.howsweeteats.com/2012/03/bbq-cheddar-chickpea-burgers/" target="_blank">BBQ Cheddar Chickpea Burgers recipe</a> by How Sweet It Is

  • Veggie Burgers With Pomegranate Ketchup

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/veggie-burgers-with-pomeg_n_1061058.html" target="_blank">Veggie Burgers with Pomegranate Ketchup recipe</a></strong>

  • Double Bean Burger Patty Melts

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.howsweeteats.com/2012/10/double-bean-burger-patty-melts/" target="_blank">Double Bean Burger Patty Melts recipe</a> by How Sweet It Is</strong>

  • Quinoa, Fava Bean And Chard Veggie Burgers

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://food52.com/recipes/21779-quinoa-fava-bean-and-chard-veggie-burgers" target="_blank">Quinoa, Fava Bean, and Chard Veggie Burgers recipe</a> by Carolyn Cope via Food52</strong>

  • Roasted Red Pepper Quinoa Burgers

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.howsweeteats.com/2013/03/roasted-red-pepper-quinoa-white-bean-burgers/" target="_blank">Roasted Red Pepper Quinoa Burgers recipe </a>by How Sweet It Is </strong> Of course, leave off the bacon if you're a vegetarian.

  • Smoky Sweet Potato Burgers With Roasted Garlic Cream

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.howsweeteats.com/2012/09/smoky-sweet-potato-burgers-with-roasted-garlic-cream-and-avocado/" target="_blank">Smoky Sweet Potato Burgers with Roasted Garlic Cream and Avocado recipe</a> by How Sweet It Is</strong>

  • Easy Double Bean Burgers

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.howsweeteats.com/2012/06/easy-double-bean-burgers-with-avocado-basil-cream/" target="_blank">Easy Double Bean Burgers recipe</a> by How Sweet It Is</strong>

  • Brown-Rice Veggie Burgers

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/27/brown-rice-veggie-burgers_n_1058252.html" target="_blank">Brown-Rice Veggie Burgers recipe</a></strong>

  • Beet Burgers

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.macheesmo.com/2010/08/the-beet-burger/" target="_blank">Beet Burgers recipe</a> by Macheesmo</strong>

  • Veggie Masala Burgers With Cilantro Chutney Aioli

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://food52.com/recipes/20511-veggie-masala-burgers-with-cilantro-chutney-aioli" target="_blank">Veggie Masala Burgers with Cilantro Chutney Aioli recipe</a> by Madhuri Sharma via Food52</strong>

  • Crispy Quinoa Sliders

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.howsweeteats.com/2012/09/crispy-quinoa-sliders/" target="_blank">Crispy Quinoa Sliders recipe</a> by How Sweet It Is</strong>

  • Spicy Edamame Burgers

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.abeautifulmess.com/2013/04/spicy-edamame-burgers.html" target="_blank">Spicy Edamame Burgers recipe</a> by A Beautiful Mess</strong>

  • Grilling Swapouts

    Substitute this for that at your next barbecue

  • Corn On The Cob

    Who doesn't love corn off the grill? But instead of slathering on a ton of butter and <a href="http://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/2013/05/20/salt-in-the-sweet-spot" target="_blank">salt</a>, simply top it with freshly squeezed lime juice. Skeptical? Don't knock it until you try it. And once you do -- trust me -- that butter will be a distant memory.

  • Good Old-Fashioned Hamburgers

    This year, instead of your usual ground chuck, choose a leaner cut. Go for sirloin, ground chicken breast or skinless turkey. You can even try mixing the ground beef with the ground poultry when making the patty. We can attack topping choices another season.

  • Hamburger Buns

    It's time you ditched the fluffy white flour buns and progressed to the 100 percent whole grain variety. You could also try a 100 percent whole wheat English muffin or the buns marketed as a "sandwich thin" instead.

  • Potato Salad

    Sneak <a href="http://health.usnews.com/health-products/top-rec-fiber-supplements-55" target="_blank">extra fiber</a> into the salad by keeping the skins on your potatoes. (I'm partial to using new red potatoes.) And try adding white wine vinegar, mustard and a little olive oil in lieu of regular mayonnaise.

  • Cole Slaw

    Swap in <a href="http://health.usnews.com/health-news/diet-fitness/diet/articles/2011/09/30/greek-yogurt-vs-regular-yogurt-which-is-more-healthful" target="_blank">nonfat Greek yogurt</a> for regular mayo, and add a little apple cider vinegar to give it just the right flavor.

  • Steak

    I've never said that a lean cut of beef can't be grilled on the barbecue, but if many cookouts are planned, why not try a different category of steak? Tuna or salmon steaks are great on the grill, especially when they're brushed with olive oil and seasoned with a little fresh lemon, lime, herbs and spices.

  • Potato Chips

    Chips are staples of most cookouts, but they're not always a healthy choice. If you're craving something salty and crunchy, try making your own kale chips instead -- a rather popular trend these days. Or simply have a pickle, which can leave you surprisingly satisfied.

  • Ice Cream

    What's a cookout without ice cream? Instead of passing on it altogether, buy individual serving sizes in lieu of the gallon box. This way, you're in control of how much ice cream is scooped and served. Or if so inclined, switch to nonfat frozen yogurt -- but you'll still need to <a href="http://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/2013/03/07/5-ways-to-practice-portion-control" target="_blank">keep your portions in check</a>.

  • Pie

    Fresh berry pies are amazing in the summer, but they're usually a bit high in calories. So instead of giving into a slice, create your own healthier version. In a bowl, crumble two graham crackers, then pile on the berries and top them with low-fat Greek yogurt. Viola -- your own <a href="http://health.usnews.com/health-news/health-wellness/articles/2013/03/14/pi-day-6-healthy-pie-recipes" target="_blank">(healthy) pie</a>!

  • Cocktails

    Many people would prefer not to consider cocktails as a source of calories, but they certainly are. This summer, make your own fruity version with vodka, seltzer or club soda, a splash of fruit juice and fresh fruit for garnish. Leave the pina coladas and daiquiris to cookouts of summers past.

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