Everything is just peachy in the kitchen at this time of year

When I sit outside, there is a golden hue to the landscape, and an occasional leaf is falling. The evening air is refreshing and crisp as the melodic sound of the crickets rock us to sleep, while the chatting of Canada geese overhead wake us for a new day.

These seasonal rhythms awake in me a desire to consume seasonal food and food grown in Canada. Right now, peaches are a must on our grocery list. Sweet and juicy, packed with nutrients and fibre, peaches are one of my favourite summer flavours. Whether slicing fresh or in baking, the aroma is tantalizing.

You can store ripe peaches in the refrigerator for up to five days, or to ripen simply place in a brown paper bag on the countertop.

As a child, one of my earliest cooking memories was watching my grandmother place fresh peaches in a white enamel bowl and cover the fruit with boiling water for 20 to 30 seconds, or until the skin started to open up, then into a bowl of cold water to cool slightly and magically in a few minutes the skin would slide right off and you could slice the peach. I loved this method because then you did not have to deal with the peach fuzz. If you left the fruit in the boiling water longer, you could even slightly cook them and they would be warm and delicious sliced with creamy vanilla ice cream.

Peaches and greens salad

I have really taken to mixing fruit with greens. The sweet and savory taste of this type of salad is so pleasing to the palette. Add a side of meat or protein of your choice and you have a meal.

  • 6 c. prepared salad greens of your choice 1.5 L
  • 2 small fresh peaches, thinly sliced
  • 2 c. cucumber, peeled and chopped 500 mL
  • 1 c. fresh blueberries 250 mL
  • 1/4 c. fresh chopped green onion 60 mL
  • 1/4 c. poppy seed salad dressing 60 mL

In a large salad or mixing bowl, toss all the ingredients together. If you are not serving immediately, hold the dressing and toss just before serving. Garnish with some chopped nuts like walnuts or almonds if desired. Serves six. Source: Adapted from Kraft Canada.

Note: You could substitute a raspberry or balsamic vinaigrette for the poppy seed dressing if desired.

Fresh peach cobbler

This is my favourite summer dessert. There is just something exceptional about baking with fresh peaches.

  • 6-8 large ripe peaches, peeled and sliced
  • 2 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 30 mL plus 5 mL
  • 1/2 c. sugar 125 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon 2 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg 1 mL

Crust:

  • 1 c. all-purpose flour 250 mL
  • 2 large egg yolks at room temperature
  • 1/4 c. butter, melted 60 mL
  • 1 tsp. baking powder 5 mL
  • 1 c. sugar 250 mL
  • 2 large egg whites, room temperature, stiffly beaten

Combine peaches, cornstarch and sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon; place in a greased 13×9 inch (22 X 33 cm) baking dish.

Preheat the oven to 375 F (190 C).

Prepare the crust in a mixing bowl by combining the flour, egg yolks, butter, baking powder and sugar in a bowl. Gently fold in egg whites. Spread over the peaches and place in the oven.

Bake until the fruit is bubbling around the outside of the crust, about 45 minutes.

Serve warm with a dollop of ice cream or whipped cream. Serves six to eight. Source: Country publication 1991

Slow cooker peach crumble

When time is of the essence, I love the convenience of the slow cooker.

  • 1 tbsp. butter, softened 15 mL
  • 6 large ripe peaches, peeled and sliced
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar 30 mL
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice 15 mL
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla 15 mL
  • 1 c. flour 250 mL
  • 3/4 c. brown sugar 175 mL
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder 7 mL
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon 5 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda 2 mL
  • 1/8 tsp. salt .5 mL
  • 1 c. old-fashioned oats 250 mL
  • 6 tbsp. cold butter, cubed 90 mL

Grease a six quart oval slow cooker with one tablespoon softened butter. Toss peaches with brown sugar, lemon juice and vanilla; spread evenly in slow cooker.

Combine the first six topping ingredients, then stir in the oats. Cut in butter until crumbly; sprinkle over peaches.

Cook, covered, on low until peaches are tender, three to four hours. Serves six to eight. Source: www.tasteofhome.com.

Peach cobbler cookies

  • 1 c. butter, softened 250 mL
  • 1 c. sugar 250 mL
  • 1/3 c. packed brown sugar 75 mL
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract 5 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. almond extract 1 mL
  • 3 c. all-purpose flour 750 mL
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon 7 mL
  • 1 tsp. cream of tartar 5 mL
  • 1 tsp. baking soda 5 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 2 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg 1 mL
  • 1 c. chopped and peeled fresh peaches 250 mL

Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and extracts. In another bowl, whisk flour, cinnamon, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt and nutmeg; gradually beat into creamed mixture. Stir in peaches.

Drop tablespoons of dough, two inches apart, onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake until set, 14 to 16 minutes.

Cool on pans for two minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Makes about four dozen cookies. Source: Simple and Delicious June/July 2019.

Berry cherry peach sauce

This is a quick dessert without starting the oven. The presentation of this sauce on ice cream is simply elegant.

  • 2 c. fresh or frozen sliced peeled peaches 500 mL
  • 1/2 c. fresh or frozen blueberries 125 mL
  • 6 fresh or frozen pitted dark sweet cherries, halved
  • 1 c. plus 1 tbsp. orange juice, divided
  • 250 mL plus 15 mL
  • 1/4 c. sugar (this amount can be adjusted based on the sweetness of the fruit) 60 mL
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch 15 mL
  • vanilla ice cream

In a large saucepan, combine the fruits with one cup of the orange juice and the sugar. Heat over low heat until sugar is completely dissolved. Then turn up to medium heat to bring the liquid to a slight boil, stirring often.

Once bubbling, reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for about seven minutes or until the peaches are tender.

Combine the cornstarch and remaining juice until smooth and pour into the fruit. Bring the mixture back to a boil while stirring often and cook for two minutes or until thickened.

Remove from the heat and serve with ice cream. This also makes a nice topping for an angel food or white cake. Serves six. Source: Simple and Delicious August/September 2012.

Almond peach muffins

Delicious for a packed lunch or for your morning coffee.

  • 1 1/2 c. flour 375 mL
  • 1 c. sugar 250 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 2 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda 2 mL
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c. oil 125 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract 2 mL
  • 1/8 tsp. almond extract .5 mL
  • 1 1/4 c. chopped peeled fresh peaches 300 mL
  • 1/2 c. chopped almonds 125 mL

Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C).

Combine the flour, sugar, salt and baking soda in a large mixing bowl. In another bowl, beat the eggs, oil and extracts. Stir into dry ingredients until moistened. Fold in peaches and almonds. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups to about three-quarters full. Place in the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Cool and enjoy. Makes 12 muffins.

Editor’s note: A 398 millilitre can of peaches, drained and chopped, may be substituted for the fresh peaches. You can also substitute any nuts of your choice such as walnuts or pecans. Source: Country Woman Magazine.

Jodie Mirosovsky is a home economist from Rosetown, Sask., and a member of Team Resources. Contact: team@producer.com.

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