Thursday, August 23, 2007

Peach Season

Ahh de-clay-ah.......it is hot! Hot and humid, in fact. I find that I can deal with heat as long as I don't have to deal with the humidity. But this summer has been unusual here in San Diego, and it has made it clear to me how very far I've come from my roots on the east coast. While I will always love New York and Boston and points in between, I'm no longer interested in living someplace with that much humidity. It makes me lethargic. I make tea in the mornings in my kitchen. I eat cereal. I buy sandwiches from the local bakery. I have cheese and crackers for dinner.

I got an email last week from a friend who used to live in Julian - a small town in the mountains east of San Diego. In the summertime, she helped out at a local fruit stand called Meyer's Orchard. Mr. Meyer gets up at around 2am each morning at this time of the year and drives for several hours to his orchards. There, he picks the peaches which are ripe for that day, as well as the ones which will be ripe within the next 4-5 days. Anyway, this friend told me that she was making a "peach run", and would I like any?

Is this actually a question? Of course!

The peach (prunus persica) is native to China. The word "persica" is indicative of the fact that early Europeans believed that the peach was native to Persia, but modern botanical consensus is that it originated in China and was brought to Persia along the Silk Road. There are several different crops each season, and this is the first one. This particular variety is called "Fair Lady." As the season goes on, the peaches get larger and sweeter, so by the end of season, it becomes difficult to bake anything with them. They are so incredibly sweet and delicious, it almost seems a travesty to be doing anything but eating them.
I am gobbling up this first batch as fast as I can, and haven't made anything with them yet. I will include Mrs. Meyer's recipes for peaches here. To me, they are reminiscent of the recipes from the 50s - they're so....Donna Reed. It wouldn't surprise me to learn that Mrs. Meyer has been using these recipes since Betty Crocker was in full swing.

What do you like to do with fresh peaches, other than eat them fresh or on top of your cereal? Do you have a favorite recipe? A grandmother's pie or crumble?

Helen Meyer’s Peach Recipes
Meyers Orchard, Julian, Ca.

Glazed Peach Pie

Make a regular single pie crust.

Filling:

1 1/2 cup sugar
1 ½ cup COLD water
3 oz peach jello
¼ cup + 1 Tablespoon corn starch
Slice peaches 1/2 inch thick (use your prettiest ones)
Let crust cool.

Mix cornstarch, sugar, jello.
Add cold water
Bring to boil and stir often til thick (est 3-min)
Lay peaches in crust, pour ½ glaze over all.
Refrigerate until firm.

Save remaining glaze for next pie.


Peach Pie II

Need peaches, pie crust, sugar, corn starch, water, powdered sugar.

Bake a pie crust

Mix in sauce pan:

1 cup puree peaches (use the ones with blemishes for this)
¾ cup sugar
2-3 Tablespoons corn starch
½ cup water

Use a slow heat to the boiling point

In baked pie crust, layer:

3-oz softened cream cheese
2-3 Tablespoons of powdered sugar
Sliced peaches
Peach puree

Angels with Peaches ‘n Cream

1 baked Angel Food cake
1 small package of instant vanilla pudding
Fresh peaches cut into small chunks
8-oz sour cream

Pull apart the cake into bite size pieces and fill a cake pan (12x12 or 9x13)
Mix the pudding by the box directions, let set til it thickens.
Mix sour cream into thickened pudding.
Add cake, peaches – mix.
Cover and refrigerate.

And, don’t forget, peaches….

…over ice cream
…under peach schnapps
…smoothies
…over pound cake
…on cereal
…at lunch time.
…cobbler
And…and…..and………………..

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16 comments:

Lydia said...

Lately I've been grilling my peaches, then brushing the top with the tiniest bit of honey and a squeeze of lemon juice. Oh boy oh boy.

Toni said...

Oh boy, oh boy indeed! I adore grilled fruit - and that drop of honey and squeeze of lemon juice sounds DIVINE!

valentinA said...

Hmmmmmm, the peaches are so beautiful! Love the bright, healthy colours! I've no doubt your pie tastes awesome;)

Susan said...

Great photos, Toni. I just baked a peach pie recently, and as much as it was good, I rather not have anything stand between me and an excellent peach. Out-of-hand eating will always be my favorite. (P.S. I hate the humidity in NY, too.)

Patricia Scarpin said...

I love peaches so much, Toni! They remind me of my mom, too, she was crazy about them.

I love having them with plain yogurt, with a sprinkle of brown sugar or a bit of honey.

Oh, the word peach in Portuguese is "pêssego", which is similar to "persica".

toni said...

Valentina - Yes, they are beautiful!

Susan - I'm so with you on the out of hand eating. As well as the humidity in NY!

Patricia - I love them with yogurt, too. These are so sweet that brown sugar or honey would be redundant. And thanks for the Portuguese lesson!!

Cynthia said...

Toni, the only peaches we get here in the Caribbean are imported so you know what that means - they are picked before they're supposed to in order to prepare for the long journey :(

toni said...

Cynthia - On the one hand, I feel sorry for you about that. But on the other hand, you get fruits there that we don't here - so I guess it all evens out!

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen said...

Those peaches look so gorgeous!

Chris said...

You were right, we did have peaches on the brain! Great minds, my friend - great minds. I like lydia's idea of grilling them! I will have to try that one...

toni said...

Jenn - Wish you could taste them!

Chris - You're going to love them grilled!

katiez said...

I love peaches...have them every day for lunch with some vanilla yogurt. I just can't seem to get past eating them immediately when ripe. Our neighbor has a proper peach tree and I'm waiting for a moonlit night...
Our's (trees) are 'peche de vigne' which are much smaller and more suited for liqueurs and sauces.

Cynthia said...

Hi Toni, I've tagged you for an MEME, please check my blog for the details when you get a chance.

ann said...

I like using slightly underripe peaches as a stand in for green papaya in asian inflected salads. Really lovely. My favorite peaches are those in ice cream though, which I then eat with pretzels instead of a spoon. My grandma taught me that, and it's really delicious.

Mansi Desai said...

Hi Toni,

landed here from Cynthia's blog:)

I love this post about peaches. My friend has given us a lot from her garden, but they r still small and raw. I guess i ahve to wait till they ripen and then I'm sure gonna make one of these recipes here!!

Erinn said...

I too am a fan of the grilled peach. I like to glaze them with a mix that's equal parts molasses and balsamic vinegar (something well aged, so it's sweeter).