Peaches

Peaches, Peaches everywhere



I knew if I didn't hurry up with this blog post someone would be saying, "peaches, where did she get peaches this time of year?"  Lordy, lordy where does the time go?  Hopefully I've posted this in time that you can still relate to the abundance of summer peaches and the many yummy possibilities.

So, here is the deal.  I've become addicted to food preservation ideas.  I love having great food available to present at that last minute when you get the word your BFF is dying to see the farm and will come for lunch tomorrow or your husbands family is on the interstate just passing by and would love to come say Hi!  You know those moments. We all have them in some form.

 I love to cook and serving good food is very important to me.   I don't want those moments when an unexpected guest graces our home to be any different.  I might not be the best at making sure the Welcome mat is swept off but rest assured,  I'll serve something to remember.  During the summer when fresh food is abundant and full of flavor I have plenty of opportunity to make and stash those yummy treats.

Over the last couple of years, peaches have been a  star ingredient. The addiction began when the peach vendor next to me at the Durham Farmers Market would have boxes of peaches that couldn't be sold because they weren't perfect so I would gladly take them off their hands for a few dollars.  I gathered some of my favorite jam recipes during that time but today I am here to share my favorite of all surprises...


Freezer Peach Pie.  The filling is oh so simple.  You then fill a pie plate lined with foil full of the peach mixture.  Freeze the plate with the peaches.  Then, after it has had time to freeze, you remove the pie plate from the foil and Voila!   You have a frozen peach pie filling ready to rest in the buttery crumb of a freshly made pie crust and baked to perfection just as if you'd freshly peeled and sliced those peach beauties!



5 cups of peeled and sliced fresh Peaches




Mix your cornstarch, Tapioca, sugar and nutmeg and/or cinnamon with peaches


Line pie plate with foil, crossing layers opposite directions



Add peach mixture



Crimp foil together going all around to be sure you have a tight seal



After the foil is sealed, place the plate and all in the freezer.  In a few hours you can remove the plate.  I then place the foil in a zip lock bag ready to use at a later date.




After you've followed these easy steps (exact recipe below) at any time you place the frozen filling into your favorite double pie crust recipe and bake to a glorious golden Peach Pie fresh tasting as a summer day.

Ingredients:
4-5 Cups Fresh Peaches (original recipe called for 2.5 cups but I say, why not more?)
2Tablespoons Cornstarch
2Tablespoons Tapioca
3/4 - 1 cup of sugar recommended but I add it based on peach sweetness (usually 1/2-3/4)
Dash of fresh Nutmeg
Cinnamon if desired.  I add a touch but husband not a huge fan.
Mix it all together and place in your foil lined deep dish pie plate.
When your ready to use:
Preheat oven to 450.  Place frozen peach mixture on top of your favorite crust.  Top with another crust or lattice strips.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Lower heat to 350 and bake another 30 or until lightly browned.

Recipe adapted from a recipe found on allrecipes.com

Our Little Orchard

Ah, our little orchard.  I knew when I first set foot on this farm I wanted to have a "little" orchard.  On a small scale an orchard is also referred to as a fruit garden and sounds more appropriate for our farm.  I love to eat fruit in every form, fresh in the flesh , pies, preserves, cobblers, in my pancakes, muffins, on yogurt or ice cream, and fresh in the flesh some more. My mouth waters at the thought of it. I am often reminded of a moment in my childhood some suggest should be embarrassing.  My grandmother placed a bowl of blueberries on the breakfast table.  Yes, a bowl.  I pulled the bowl in front of me, sure it was meant just for me and proceeded to pour a bit of milk.  With haste the SERVING bowl was snatched from my place mat.  Embarrassed, really?  I knew what was in that bowl.
Gosh, trees in my own back yard!  I can eat the fruit right from the branch it hangs from. What a treat.  Blackberries, blueberries, cherry, apple, pear, plum, persimmon, fig and even pecan are all here now.  We haven't gotten a harvest from each and every one yet.  The harvests of fruit will improve with age, the trees are still fairly young.  Our blackberries and raspberries provided gifts the first year and now there is enough fruit for me to really be challenged with options.  More then you can swallow in one sitting usually means your going to have to prepare them so that they don't go by way of the fruit flies. Plenty of jams and cobblers have been made from our berries already. In fact, as I write I have fruit macerating ...my first step for jams and preserves. I have journeyed through the preserving process so that I'm just getting comfortable.  Now I'm even making my own flavor combos.  Today, blackberry lime!  I have already taken some pictures of the process so you can be assured I'll share the recipes in an upcoming post.  I love, love, love to preserve stuff.  It feels so thrifty and respectful of the food.  There is nothing quite like popping the lid from a jar of preserved fruit or vegi's  you toiled over the year (or more) before.




  As our trees are maturing  each year we have a few more fruits, that is if we get there before the deer, crows, or Japanese beetles.  You'd be surprised how much we loose.  Last year we lost about 50 pears to dining crows.  We wait for the fruit to ripen, they don't!


The fruit we planted that I haven't mentioned is the fruit needing the most attention....peaches.  Of course it is the very fruit we planted the most of.  I have been guided so often on this farm by an idea I've dreamed about in the past, never really understanding what's involved.  Me, really, jumping into something blind....no.  Yep!  That's me.

For those who know our farm you know we're all about the no chemicals or pesticides way of doing things.  We follow organic practices with everything on our farm.   Ever tried to grow a peach tree?  Oh my is it a challenge....  Peaches are very susceptible to all sorts of pests and diseases and AFTER they were planted I heard folks say, "you can't grow a peach without spraying".  I don't know if you were paying attention but I am trying to tell you I was probably told  before I planted them but I didn't HEAR it until after.  Yep, I must admit...I wasn't listening.  Or, was it selective hearing.  Oh well, it wasn't intentional.  I just wanted peach trees and I didn't want to be discouraged.


Well here you have it.  Picked today from one of our peach trees.  They are some kind of yummy and I am some kind of proud.  For anyone who gardens you understand "the fruits of your labor" well this is truly "the fruits".   I wonder if the sweetness is at all influenced by the fact that we grew them right here in our own back yard.  Or, maybe the fruit is so sweet cause we did it against the odds?


I do know we can't take all the credit.  It's been a good year for our peaches.  The long season of cool temps kept the bugs at bay long enough that all the luscious fruit formed and ripened before the bugs got to it.  The reason we had no bugs this year I have figured out.  The real mystery, how did the deer and crows miss these beauties?  We're not complaining, just wiping the peach juice from our chins.