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Peaches! I am so excited!
Bad frosts and windstorms have taken our peaches before they reached marble size in previous years. But, this year our peaches are turning golden, pink and red. I’m dreaming of peach jams, cobblers, pies and crisps.
All summer I’ve been checking the fruit daily, feeling the peaches to see if they’ve softened. As the summer days lengthened, our tree, heavily laden with fruit, has become as gorgeous and fragrant as any flower.
I swear, I can smell the peaches ripening. Evidently so can Japanese Beetles.
Yesterday disaster struck.
Some peaches were ripe.
BUT, every “ripe” peach was swarming with and being devoured by Japanese beetles. Only the ripe peaches, mind you. The hard peaches, they left alone
My husband and I grabbed ladders and sacks and began picking. We picked every peach we could. After soaking them to get rid of any insects I set them out on my counter as recommended HERE.
Some food experts recommend putting peaches into a paper bag to ripen. Others swear that the only way to have good ripe peaches is to only pick them at the moment of peak ripeness.
How to tell if peaches are ripe:
- Attached to the tree: Peaches are best picked when the fruit separates easily from the twigs. If it is hard to pull off the tree, it isn’t ripe!
- Color: Green is definitely unripe, but you can’t use red color as an indicator of how ripe a peach is. Different peach varieties have differing amounts of red blush in their natural coloring. Pick them when the ground color changes from green to yellow, orange, red (or a combination). The skin of yellow-fleshed varieties ripens to an orange tint, while the skin of white-fleshed varieties changes from greenish- to yellow-white.
- Softness: Unless you like your peaches very firm, pick your peaches with just a little “give” when gently pressed. Peaches at this stage are great for eating, freezing, and baking. Peaches won’t ripen very much after picking!
- Odor: The peaches should smell sweet and ripe
Old Fashioned Southern Peach Cobbler
After a couple of days covered on the counter, the peaches, saved from the beetles, are ripe and ready. I have enough to make a peach cobbler and a peach pie, plus some for the freezer.
I love pies and crisps, BUT nothing pairs up so well freshly ripened organic peaches as a homemade cobbler crust. This dessert is one of my favorites. Especially topped with vanilla ice cream.
SOUTHERN PEACH COBBLER FOR TWO
(Can be doubled)
2 cups peaches
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tsp. cornstarch
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons flour
2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. baking powder
Pinch of salt
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
1 tablespoon butter cut into pieces
2 tablespoons whipping cream
Grease small casserole dish with butter. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Peel & cut up peaches. Mix peaches and lemon juice. Mix cornstarch, brown sugar and cinnamon with peaches and put peaches into greased casserole dish.
In another bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, salt. cinnamon and nutmeg. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Add the cream and toss with flour mixture just until the dough is combined.
Turn the dough out onto a flour surface and knead a few times to smooth it. Then roll it out into the shape of the casserole dish. Place the dough over the filling and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. of sugar. Bake until the top is golden and the juices are bubbling. 25 to 30 minutes.
What we can learn from our Amish neighbors about staying healthy.
You don’t have to give up rich homemade desserts, like peach pie or peach cobbler to stay slim and healthy. Studies have shown that although the Amish eat a diet that includes plenty of sugar and is fairly high in fat – including saturated fat – from sources such as meat and eggs, their obesity rate is low. As a group they are healthier than most Americans. I’m sure this can be attributed to the Amish people raising their own food and performing physical labor throughout much of their day. ….Growing your own, also, gets you out in the fresh air, with free vitamin D from the sunlight at no extra charge.
Best of all…home-grown fruit is yummy!