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Tag: peaches

In late August I went home to the mountains of North Carolina where I grew up. Since many of my relatives are apple farmers it was only natural that I grew up loving apples! However, in the mountains apples are not available till September and peaches do not grow very well. Fortunately you can find some of the best peaches in the region not far down the windy mountain road into the foothills near Chesnee, South Carolina. I would venture many people in the surrounding area might claim these are the best peaches in the USA, if not the world!

There are varieties of peaches which ripen successively beginning in late May and finishing up the first couple weeks of September. The clingstone peaches are the early peaches and are quickly followed by semi-freestones for a couple of weeks in mid to late June and then the freestone mother lode begins in July. Check out the Variety Ripening Dates from Strawberry Hills USA near Chesnee, SC.

Peach TowerIn August as I was driving back to Raleigh, I took I-26 and darted off on the Cherokee Foothills National Scenic Highway toward Chesnee and Gaffney. I love this two-lane highway because it shows rural SC at its best! Small towns with well-kept homes and farms and best of all a huge water tower painted like a perfectly huge rendition of a yellow peach! Ronald Dahl would have loved this water tower.

Coming over the hill and stretching in front of me is a little valley all covered with strawberry fields and peach orchards as far as my eye can see. Clean row upon row of architecturally pruned peach trees define this landscape. As I pull into Strawberry Hill’s gravel parking lot I quickly roll down my car windows so I can smell the peaches. I declare, this has to be Heaven! I get out of my car and slowly walk to the various sized baskets of fruit and close my eyes taking in the peachy smell. I realize I need to open my eyes or I will bump into someone or something but I am so delirious with peachy pleasure I could hardly be held accountable for anything short of fainting from delight.

The more years that pass the more I have come to realize a tree-ripened yellow or white peach comes close to being my favorite fruit. That is saying a lot because I love almost all fruits except durians!

During this trip I found the varieties O Henry’s and White Rose available. I have had the O Henry’s before but had not tried the White Rose. I am partial to Georgia Belle’s, but sadly I missed the Georgia Belle season this year so I was happy that another white peach was still available.

The O Henry’s are a beautiful deep yellow color with a red center. If the appearance was not enchanting enough, it was followed by a gorgeous full-on peach fragrance and a deep lush late summery peach taste. The White Rose was a lovely white-fleshed peach with a raspberry red center and sweet light-tasting flesh, but not a bit starchy like some white peaches can be.

Zardetto ProseccoThe White Rose peaches were so wonderful I froze some and decided I would love to use the rest to make a delicate white peach jam to go with scones in the winter. I created this Peach Prosecco Jam which is not only lovely to look at but gorgeous to eat! First, I ordered a bottle of crisp, clean bubbly Zardetto Prosecco from The Wine Feed and enjoyed some Prosecco-drenched peaches. Fortunately, I stopped myself at a point where there was enough remaining to make the Peach Prosecco Jam!

Here is the recipe for you to indulge your senses and fulfill your need for a beautiful and delicate tasting white peach jam. You can use yellow peaches in this recipe, but do try it with white peaches…you won’t be disappointed!

Finally, be sure to save a glass or two of Prosecco to toast to the peaches of summer while you are processing your jam in a hot water bath canner!

 

Peach Prosecco Jam

5 cups (approximately 3 ½ pounds) pureed white or yellow peaches

7 ½ cups sugar

¾ cups Prosecco (Italian sparkling wine)

1 envelope dry powdered fruit pectin (2 ounces)

¼ cup fresh lemon juice

½ teaspoon butter

1 cinnamon stick (optional)

¼ teaspoon vanilla paste (optional)

  1. Put peaches into boiling water. Remove peaches from water after 1 minute and place into ice water to chill. When peaches are cooled, peel peaches and slice. Place peaches in a food processor and puree till smooth.
  2. In a large stainless steel or enamel pot, add white peach puree, prosecco, butter, vanilla paste, cinnamon stick, lemon juice and package of dry pectin and stir to combine.
  3. Bring peach mixture to a rolling boil and cook 1 to 2 minutes. Stir constantly.
  4. Remove peach mixture from heat and skim foam off the top of the hot jam.
  5. Ladle the hot jam into sterilized jars and put on sterile jar rings and lids.
  6. Place the jam filled jars in a hot water bath and process for 10 minutes for half pint jars; 15 minutes for pint jars.
  7. Makes 10 half pint (8 ounce) jars of jam.

PeachesPeach season has peaked and is slowly fading away to become a distant summer memory.  I love peaches and I crave them year round.  In the hope of satiating this need I am always searching for ways to incorporate fresh or frozen peaches and peach jam into my recipes.

When teaching one of The Gardener’s Kitchen canning workshops, I serve a dish that uses a canned item from my very full pantry!  My intention in serving a dish prepared with a canned item is to show some of the lovely, delicious and healthy ways they can use the food they preserve.

During the most recent Pressure Canning Workshop at The Gardener’s Kitchen, I let my love for peaches shine forth.  After a couple hours of hot weather and pressure canning in the kitchen, enjoying something cold and delightful made with peach jam created a refreshing and fun repast for everyone.

Using a half pint jar of homemade peach jam and fresh (or frozen) mango puree I made a spectacular Peach Jam and Mango Sorbet.  Then I served it with fresh peaches and raspberry sauce made from my frozen local raspberries and bite-sized coconut macaroons from Whole Foods.

To make the peach experience even more wonderful, I asked The Wine Feed to recommend a dessert wine to compliment the Peach Jam and Mango Sorbet.  Phillip recommended the Sant‘Evasio Moscato d’Asti 2010.  It was a perfect accompaniment to the peaches, mango, raspberries and coconut!!!!

Occasionally a dish and the complementary wine will strike a common chord with people and low moans can be heard as people sink into a place of quiet enjoyment where only taste, texture, smell, and color prevail until the last person experiences the last bite!  This dish paired with the Sant‘Evasio Moscato d’Asti 2010 was one of those experiences for everyone!

Here is the recipe for you to enjoy and share!

Peach Jam and Mango Sorbet

1 cup or 8 ounce jar of peach jam
2 cups mango puree or juice
1 to 2 tablespoons Apricot Brandy
½ cup fresh lemon or lime juice
½ tsp lemon or lime zest

  • Combine jam, mango pulp or juice, lemon juice, and apricot brandy zest in a bowl.
  • Place mixed ingredients in ice cream maker and process.
  • When processing is completed, put sorbet in container and place in freezer.
  • Thaw sorbet slightly prior to serving.
  • Serve with fresh peaches, raspberry lavender syrup and coconut macaroon.

Serves 4 to 6 people

Serve with a well-chilled sparkling white wine such as Sant‘Evasio Moscato d’Asti 2010 from The Wine Feed