Tag Archive for peach

Peach Chutney

If you need one reason to can, peaches is it. Perfectly ripe and luscious peaches are as much a treat now as they are when I open a homemade can of peaches in the dark months (or next spring before the first seasonal fruit, strawberries, ripen in May).

They are not quite as perfect  as a fresh juicy fragrant peach now… but not far. Not far.  They will certainly taste better then almost any fruit you can buy in winter.  Canned peaches are in effect poached peaches and if you can them au naturel like I do, you can use them for all kinds of preparations: naked, with yogurt, in smoothies, tarts, on top of your morning pancakes or waffles, mashed for a quick chunky sauce, mixed with other canned or dry fruit for a winter fruit salad, or puree as a base for ice-cream or sorbet.

Nonetheless, we do have – ahem! – quite a few jars of peaches canned already. And faced with the end of a bushel of ripe peaches I did not really feel like  more “canning”. Call me lazy!  Pickles, jams and chutneys only require 10 minutes in a boiling water-bath, in my smaller canner too since I use 8-oz smaller jars. Why not another condiment? This seems to be the year when I am experimenting with sweet/sour as I have made fennel agrodolce, tomates aigres douces, peach mostarda, peach barbecue sauce, pickled peaches and peach chutney using a recipe from Christine Ferber in Leçons de Confitures. Christine’s Summer Chutney uses peaches, dry apricots and poppy seeds. It was very pleasant and encouraged me to play some more and try my hands at making chutney with what I had available at the moment in the house.

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The Economics of Canning Peaches

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I have been offering small hands-on classes on canning starting about one month ago: we’ve had 3 on peaches, 2 on pickles, and the first class on canning tomatoes is in 10 days, on August 17. There will be more workshops throughout August & September, and some on canning apple & apple sauce, as well as pears, in the fall.

Many people are intimidating by canning, but there is no reason to be. I teach canning classes using the Boiling Water Bath method, which, when done properly and meticulously, is not only easy but safe for naturally acid food like fruit, most tomatoes and pickles. My students certainly seem to leave appreciative of the tutorial.

Canning is indeed not difficult. Benefits add up:

  • produce processed when they are at peak of flavor are a treat in the winter that no flown-in or trucked-in fruit can beat;
  • you are in control of the ingredients. For me, too many commercially store-bought canned fruit have may too much added sugar. I can adjust that; You like vanilla? in, it goes. You prefer ginger? add it in!
  • you are in control of the process and the safety of your food – not relying on some unknown machine or factory workers who knows where;
  • it’s sooo convenient later in winter to have a pantry full of almost ready meals;
  • and while cost is only one of the reasons I do this, it is not a negligeable one. Canning can add up to significant savings. Read more

Just In Time for Sipping the New Year In

Bottle of Homemade Peach Liqueur

Bottle of Homemade Peach Liqueur

It’s been aging in the dark closet under the stair since July. This morning, finally, it was time for bottling. You do remember the peach liqueur we made, right? YOU did make it, right?, when the peaches were full of flavor and fragrance last summer?

Thanks to the magic of photo editing software I “transformed” one of my pictures of peaches into a “watercolor”, and used it to make pretty labels.

Then looked for an attractive clear bottle – all the better to show the pale color of the liqueur (here a recycled Port bottle), carefully poured the fragrant liqueur from its aging container – and: voila, a fine bottle to sip on new year’s eve – and beyond – with memories redolent of summers past and with hope for summers to come.

Cheers! Happy New Year. May the winter be not too hard (but hard enough to kill the bugs and let the trees be dormant) and may the harvest be good next year.

Note for tLocavore Log: the peaches were immediately local!

Peach Salsa

(no picture of the salsa…. I know, I know…)

Ripe Yellow Peaches

Tomatoes however are really wonderful this year. And so are peaches (albeit I don’t grow peaches, several orchards in Rappahannock County have been keeping me happy: I have bought 2 ½ bushels to date).

So as I am cooking for others (well, for me too, of course!), I try to emphasize the bounty and freshness of our wonderful local produce. For example, on Saturday, we cooked for a lovely little party (21 people + 6 kids) where the hostess was very happy that we incorporated many fresh local vegetables and fruit in the menu. She wanted something simple but elegant to celebrate the wedding of one of her children: since the family loves peaches and peaches are so good this year, I made several dishes incorporating peaches: a fresh peach ice-cream with peach sauce, a lovely peach and blackberry salad macerated with lemon-verbena syrup. And then I made a side dish that had both peach and tomato (the other garden winner for me): a peach salsa served with Lamb Kebabs that had been marinated with olive oil and spices and herbs of the Mediterranean basin (cumin, coriander, thyme etc). Read more

Not Yet Peached Out

A bowl of peachesI promised more peach recipes. If “recipe” is the word to use. You got to do a lot of things – fast – when you got a bushel (close to 60 pounds!) of peaches.

Perfectly ripe fruit call for a very simple treatment. Why mess up with pure goodness? Some nice dough, a sprinkling of sugar, a dash of spices. Voila!

This “recipe”for rustic summer fruit tart works with peaches, nectarines, apricots and plums. Picture #1 shows 3 unbaked Rustic Tart, 2 plums & 1 peach; picture # 2 shows baked Rustic Peach Tarts.

Three assemled tart waiting to be baked

Ingredients

  • frozen puff pastry (Or fresh, if you make it. I have not quite been successful at puff pastry and will admit to buy it – unbaked and frozen). Frozen puff is what I’ve got on the freezer right now, so that’s what I use.
  • ripe peaches, pitted and sliced (I don’t bother to peel – although I do wash – but go ahead and peel if you must)
  • sugar
  • vanilla powder

Thaw puff pastry. Roll out thinly on a floured surface.

Cut each sheet in rectangle – any size, does not matter. In the picture, I cut up a 3-fold pastry sheet rectangle in 3, giving me 3 small-ish rectangular tarts.

Put dough on parchment paper on cookie sheet. The parchment paper – while optional – prevents sticking and makes it easier to remove the baked tart without tearing the bottom.

Arrange sliced fruit on top, leaving enough edge to fold the pastry on the fruit. See first picture. Crimp, pinch etc as necessary to ensure the pastry wraps well up the fruit to hold the filling in place during cooking. You can see on the 2nd picture, in the middle tart the dough was not wrapping the fruit well enough so some juice escaped during baking

Sprinkle one or two tablespoons of sugar and a dash of vanilla powder on fruit.

Bake in a preheated 400 F oven. 20 minutes or until done (i.e until the pastry is puffed up and golden, with slightly browned edges)

That’s it! Pretty, tasty, easy. Fast enough to make just about any week night…

Rustic Peach tart

Very Cool Peaches

The lovely peach originates from China, although as its botanical name (Prunus persica) indicates Europeans thought – in the 18th century – that it came from Persia. Peaches seemed to have been introduced to Southern Europe via the Silk Road in Antiquity. They were brought by the Spaniards to the Americas where adopted by a number of Indian tribes at least in North America. A Wikipedia map shows that peaches are also cultivated in the temperate areas of South America.

Freshly made white peach sorbetTheir adoption by many peoples is no wonder as a ripe peach is a gift from God. I certainly thought so this week-end as I was going through the bushel of peaches I bought Friday – almost dizzy with their heady scent. It was hot this week-end, so I wanted to minimize cooking indoor. One perfect way to use those fragrant sun-charged wonders is to make Peach Sorbet. Read more

An Orgy of Peaches

This is going to be a good summer for peaches.

A bushel of peachesTwo local orchards I already hit had early peaches in the 2nd week of July. A third said the rain was having them push harvesting by a few days, but that peaches should be coming strong after the 15th. And they did! On Friday, I picked up a bushel of peaches – some white, some yellow – at Moore’s Orchard on Fodderstack Road between Sperryville and Washington, VA. As I walked into the packing shed, the sensuous scent of ripe peaches hits me, sweet and smooth and then wraps itself around me. Later, as I was driving home, loaded with my bounty, the fragrance of ripe peaches pervaded my small car and drifted out through the open window, making me dreamy. Can one get high of the scent of ripe peaches?

At the orchard, Dorothy Moore helped me pack my bushel (bring your own containers) and charged me only $18 (instead of the regular $24) because many of the peaches were “seconds”. Look at the picture above and how many peaches that is! As it turns out, that’s over 56 pounds – or $0.32 per pound. A win-win situation: I am having freshly picked ripe peaches at an incredible price and supporting a local farmer. Yes, the “seconds” were a little bruised, but they are fine for what I want to make with them: compote, sauce & purée – all to be frozen or canned for winter use. Some of the unblemished peaches will be halved, pitted and frozen for cobblers, pies, smoothies and the likes – also for cold weather use… well maybe nor the smoothies. Others will go into sorbets & ice-cream. A few will be eaten out of hand or grilled or baked into a rustic tart (not too much baking – it is HOT). Finally several pounds already found their way into peach liqueur and peach vinegar.

I am having a peach orgy. I hope to have many more this summer as this promises to be a good peach summer. Lots of ways to eat them. Today I will write down the recipe for Homemade Peach Liqueur, a distillation of summer to be sipped joyfully at Thanksgiving, gratefully on a cold winter evening or expectantly in the spring. Over the next week or so, I will be posting more peach recipes. Read more