Crate of Peaches, What to do with
For reasons I still don't understand, I bought a box/crate of end of season, smallish, delicous peaches yesterday at the Hollywood Farmer's Market. Sometimes a deal is a deal is a deal. $16
My usual solution is to make freezer pie but my freezer isn't big enough to deal with the bounty. After I finish five pies I project I will still have 10-15 pounds left. (For the record, the Pie and Pastry Bible's peach pie is superb.) Plus, I already have five mini pies in there already.
Suggestions? I might give in and do some canning but I have pretty vague memories of the process and would probably have to expend a fair amount of effort to relearn it.
I am having a cocktail party on Friday. Thoughts?
I tried to find some infused vodka/rum/wine recipes but I only found vin de peche recipes made with peach leaves.
I made pickled peaches from a recipe in the Joy of Pickling. My understanding is that my great grandmother used them as a Thanksgiving condiment prior to the availability of fresh cranberries here in the South. Haven't tried them yet, but a few didn't make it into the jars and were wonderful after a couple of days in the fridge. The pickle liquor, which is infused w/ cinnamon and ginger, was quite yummy too.
They had a chef cook a "JAM" of peaches - using just peaches and sugar and a little water. He sliced the peaches to bite-size. You have to stir it for about TEN MINUTES while the sugar thickens over a medium low heat. Eat, fridge or freeze.
I have a recipe for NO-COOK strawberry JAM that would work with peaches.
Also, I bought a bootload of five varieties of Pluouts (apricot/plum hybrid) and was surprised to see that they lasted almots three weeks in the refrigerator! Maybe the peaches will last about two -then you can jam-up or chutney-up the rest. (Yeah, you might see just a touch of a withered skin - not much)
PEACH SALSA is good, too. No tomatoes. Fruit, fresh cilantro, a touch of green onion, a little salt, a taste of cayenne, and a dash of cinnamon. Its good over chicken. On chips. Hey, its salsa!
3 1/4 Cups ftruit (Prepared; wash and stem, grind or crush)
1.4 C. lemon juice
1 package pectin
1 C. light corn syrup
4 1/2 C sugar
1. Measure fruit and lemon juice into a large bowl. Gradually stir in 1 package of pectin into fruit and mix thoroughly. Set aside for 30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes to dissolve pectin thoroughly.
2. Pour corn syrpu into fruit mixture; mix well. This prevent sugar crystallization during freezer storage (if you don't give it away first!)
3. Stir in sugar gradually. Continue stirring to dissolve completely.
4. Put into container to within 1/2" of tops. Wipe off edges, cover with lids and freeze (or refrigerate)
It sounds like a lot of stirring, but it doesn't take as long as canning.
One thought about the rigamarole of sealing canning jars is that if you have room somewhere in the back of the fridge, you don't have to do it.
A friend sent me a crate of sweet mutamuskeet onions last summer just as I was leaving town for a few weeks. I really couldn't deal with the prospect of canning, so I made a simple relish of onions and sour cherries (just some cider vinegar, brown sugar, bay leaf and some cinnamon sticks) put it in clean jars and put them in the fridge. You can plan some eating ops around what you've made -- I've done a duck dinner and a pork roast dinner with the cherry-onion relish -- and give some away. Of course they won't keep as long as sealed jars, but it still lengthens the amount of time you have to enjoy them.
I live in South Carolina, my family grows peaches and my Mom bombards me every year. Things I have made lately:
Cold fruit soup: heavy on peaches
Peach salsa with quesadillas
Chicken in peach/chili glaze
Sliced peaches and blueberries in herb infused simple syrup (nice at brunch)
The rest get frozen in small packages for smoothies
Canned peaches suck. Just say no.
I just did this with nectarines and choke cherries.
Cut peaches in half and remove pits (you can peel as well if you like, I didn't.) Layer peaches in sterlized jars along with sugar. Cover with Brandy, seal and store in a cool dark place for 2-3 months. Turn occasionally.
Use about 2 cups sugar and 2 cups Brandy for every 2 pounds of peaches.
I agree about the grilled peaches. Cut them in half. Remove the pit and brush all over with honey. Place cut side down on a hot grill intil they start to carmalize. Turn over and continue grilling until just soft. Remove and eat hot or at room temp.
This also works well for plums and pears.
Peach Chutney. I like a chutney with both sweet and savory flavor, but you can omit the black pepper and onion if you prefer.
For 5 lbs peaches, first simmer for 20 minutes 1/2 cup raisins/1/2 lb fine chopped dates/1 finely chopped med sweet onion/1 tsp lime rind grated/1 tsp lemon rind grated/1/2 cup chopped candied ginger or 1/4 cup fine grated fresh ginger/1 tsp. allspice/1tsp. coarse ground good black pepper/2 cups cider vinegar/2cups dark brown sugar. Then add chopped peaches and cook at gentle simmer 30 min.
Should be about 8 1/2 pint jars.