If you haven’t bitten into a fresh, golden peach and experienced the juice dripping down your chin, you’re missing out on one of life’s greatest pleasures. The best part: as of this writing (early August), they’re in season!
Peaches are one of nature’s most perfect fruits – low in calories, sweet but not too sugary, and high in fiber. And right now, especially if you buy them from a farmer’s market or orchard stand, they’re reasonably priced! They make a perfect smoothie with only a minute or two of effort:
Fresh Peach Smoothie
- 2 peaches, pits taken out
- 1/2 cup ice cubes
- 1 1/2 – 2 cups milk
- 1/3 cup sugar
Blenderize everything for 20-30 seconds, until smooth. Serve right away. Makes approx. 2-4 large glasses…if you can bear to share it, that is.
Fresh Peach Pie
Or try a fresh peach pie. My grandma was famous for feeding the local threshers with homemade pie and fried chicken. This one, from AllRecipes.com, has the same old-fashioned touches. The only bad part: you have to turn on the oven.
- 1 (15 ounce) package pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
- 1 egg, beaten
- 5 cups sliced peeled peaches
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons butter
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F (220 degrees C).
Line the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie plate with one of the pie crusts. Brush with some of the beaten egg to keep the dough from becoming soggy later. I don’t do this…but will gently brush the pie crust top with the beaten egg, to glaze it.
Place the sliced peaches in a large bowl, and sprinkle with lemon juice. Mix gently. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Pour over the peaches, and mix gently. Pour into the pie crust, and dot with butter. Cover with the other pie crust, and fold the edges under. Flute the edges to seal or press the edges with the tines of a fork dipped in egg. Brush the remaining egg over the top crust. Cut several slits in the top crust to vent steam.
Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven, then reduce the heat to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and bake for an additional 30 to 35 minutes, until the crust is brown and the juice begins to bubble through the vents. If the edges brown too fast, cover them with strips of aluminum foil about halfway through baking. Cool before serving. (Go here for the original recipe and photos.)
Preserving peaches in the easiest thing in the world. You’ll need ziplock-style bags and a sink. Wash the peaches off; quick, now throw them in the bag and close it, pushing the air out as you ‘zip.’ Quick – throw it in the freezer. That’s it! Use them frozen or half-thawed for smoothies, pies and peach crisp. (Be sure to take the pits out – or do it before you freeze the peaches.)
Peach Crisp For Four
4 cups sliced fresh or frozen peaches, peeled (for frozen peaches, the peel will slip right off – for fresh, try dipping them in boiling water for about a minute)
- 1/2 – 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 cup oatmeal
- 3-5 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Mix ingredients for the crumble topping with a fork or your hands; pile on top of the peaches in a pie pan or 9″ square cake pan. Bake for approx. 30 min., until mixture is brown and bubbling. Serve with ice cream and/or cold milk.
There’s one more amazing peach recipe…and, many people argue, the best. (Full recipe and photos are here.)
Fresh Peach Ice Cream
- 1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
- 8 large egg yolks
- 1 large whole egg
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 1 3/4 cups half-and-half
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 4 large peaches, peeled and sliced (about 3 cups)
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon peach preserves
- Combine 3/4 cup sugar, egg yolks, and whole egg in a medium bowl. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean, and add seeds, pod, and half-and-half to saucepan. Warm over medium-high heat 8 minutes or until mixture begins to steam. Do not boil. Slowly whisk into egg mixture. Return to saucepan, and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, 10 minutes or until mixture coats back of a spoon. Whisk in butter and cream. Let cool, and chill 8 hours.
- Toss peaches with remaining 1/2 cup sugar and salt; let stand at least 30 minutes in a glass or stainless bowl.
- Puree peaches and peach preserves in a blender until well combined but not completely smooth. Combine peach and custard mixtures, and freeze in an ice-cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.
Whatever your taste, there’s a peach out there to give your summer days new flavor.