Here in Southern Illinois we are well into peach season. Some farmers are running out while others are just getting going. Either which way, there are lots of peaches at the market.
We were in luck this past weekend, one of the farmers agreed to sell us a big box of ‘seconds.’ For those who don’t know, ‘seconds’ consist of product that is not as nice or pretty as the vender wants to sell (bumps & bruises, bug & animal damage, too small, split pits, etc). Often, you can get ‘seconds’ for a reduced rate. With peaches (and most fruit) , if you are willing to spend some extra time picking around bad spots, you can still get some pretty great stuff! The peaches we got from the market this week have already been made into sorbet, eaten raw, grilled, and frozen in the form of stewed peaches (good for a peach sauce or for sorbet at a later date).
However, first to look at what a peach is. As usual, from wikipedia, some information about this great fruit!
- Peaches are native to North-West China
- Peaches and nectarines are the same species
- Peaches generally have a whitish or yellow inner flesh
- Peaches have a fuzzy exterior (except when they are nectarines, then they are smooth)
When I think of peaches & how to eat them I think of them as dessert items or stand-alone snacks. With this in mind… here are some good peach recipe ideas:
Peaches on the grill!
Yes, you can grill peaches! Wash them & cut them in half and put the cut side down. After it starts smelling amazing… you are good to go! Take the peach off the grill & enjoy (don’t burn yourself, they’ll be quite hot).
Peaches with ice cream
We did this just the other night. Washed the peach, cut it into small chunks, and put them in a bowl with vanilla ice cream – sprinkled some cardamom powder on top. A fantastic twist on a simple dessert!
This is what we did with the bulk of the peaches we purchased at the market. Wash them, take the pits out and cut them into chunks or slices, then put them in a big pot (no water added) with the top on in the oven at 300 for a while. A long while. I think this pot was in the oven for two or three hours.
We did a variant of this recipe by adding some cardamom pods before sticking the pot in the oven. Really added a great flavor! Be sure to remove the cardamom pods before eating…
Make a simple syrup (1 part water, 1 part sugar) – add ingredients, bring it to a boil. Chill the simple syrup (for several hours). Stew some peaches – you can do this in the oven as mentioned above or on the stove in a pot. Then cool the peaches (for several hours). Mix the syrup and peaches – use an immersion blender (or regular blender) to puree the mixture. Then follow the directions of your ice cream maker.
4 large, ripe peaches, diced. ~1/2 cup finely chopped red onion OR green onion, 2-3 garlic cloves, minced 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped 1 small jalapeño, seeded, and finely chopped. Add juice of 1 lime, drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste… Increase any of in the ingredients to balance flavors as you like. Salsas have great flexibility for that! You could add chopped cherry tomatoes to this too. Best if made day before you plan to eat to let the flavors marinate together.
I asked on Facebook for some peach ideas… Here are some of what I got (I also got the photo you see below…):
- Peach Jam with maple syrup & ginger
- Several peach drink recipes
- Gorgonzola stuffed, prosciutto wrapped, peached (baked) with a balsamic reduction glaze
- Peach cobbler
- Peach cake
- Fruit salad. Peaches, cherries, blueberries, blackberries and strawberries (or whatever else you want to throw in there). Mix together sugar, fresh basil and just a little bit of ground pepper until sugar is moist. Stir in with fruit and let sit at room temp for 15-30 minutes until juicy. Stir in lime juice.
Finally, some peach tips:
- A peach is ripe when you squeeze it gently the flesh should give slightly. Also, it should smell amazing (like a ripe peach).
- To get the skin off of a peach, boil water in a big pot. Put the peach in the pot (I use a big spoon to eliminate splash). Let the peach ‘cook’ for 1-2 min. Then pull the peach out. It will be HOT! Let cool & the skin should slide off with a gentle squeeze of your fingers.
- Both cardamom (as mentioned above) and cinnamon go very well with peaches.
Oh, and let us not forget the Cobden Peach Festival in southern Illinois this weekend!
So, how do you enjoy peaches? Do you have amazing peach ideas to share?