September 10, 2009

Gonna Eat Me a Lot of Peaches

Millions of peaches, peaches for me. Millions of peaches, peaches for free. (Name that song.) Sadly enough, oft times when I start my posts there is a song in my head and the songs are usually slightly lame but I guess that just sort of goes with the territory. Anyway, onto the peaches. . .

My lovely sister, Cooking W., so kindly thought of me when a friend of hers had extra peaches. So, yesterday I went home to a half bushel of ripe, fragrant peaches with the intent of getting some in the freezer. Three hours later I had all but seven peaches taken care of. (Those seven peaches are for eating fresh. I told K2 I would bring her a couple peaches and I saved some for peaches and cream.) Most of the peaches are diced and in the freezer with some in the refrigerator. Here is what I did to prep them. . .

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Freezing Peaches
from Sparky
Print Recipe

1 pot boiling water
1 slotted spoon
1 big bowl ice water
3 medium bowls (1 for peaches, 1 for peach skins and bruised flesh--feed chickens or compost, 1 for pits--garbage)
2-3 lemons
very light syrup (1/2 cup sugar dissolved in 5 cups water)**
quart freezer bags
half bushel of peaches

Place 6 to 7 peaches in the boiling water. Boil for 20-30 seconds. Using slotted spoon remove peaches from boiling water and place in ice water. Remove peaches from ice water and peel by pinching the skin and pulling off (most of the skin should come off in one piece). Cut peaches as desired (I diced all of mine), I discarded any bruised flesh, I am not sure if it was necessary or not so if you have input, let me know. Repeat until you have about 8 cups of peaches (I used a container I knew was 8 cups). Slice 1 lemon in half and squeeze each half (cut side up so the seeds don't get in the peaches) over the peaches. Stir to coat all peaches--this prevents the peaches from browning. Scoop 2 cups of peaches (about what would be in a can of peaches) into a quart bag. Pour about 1/2 to 1 cup of light syrup over the peaches. Seal the bag removing as much air as possible. Repeat until you have emptied the bowl. Repeat the entire process until all peaches are ready to be frozen. ALTERNATIVE: After stiring in the lemon juice, place the diced peaches on a Silpat lined baking pan to freeze them. Once frozen place peaches in a freezer bag. (This is perfect for adding peaches to yogurt or smoothies.)

I now have 11 bags and 1 tray in the freezer, I used two cups of peaches to make Peach Bread (recipe below), and I reserved 2-3 cups for making peach cobbler tonight (once I decide on and make the cobbler, I will post the recipe).

**I have been wanting to preserve fruit; however, I have not wanted to get into canning because I thought the sugar in the syrup would detract from the healthiness (oh, and I don't own any of the stuff you use to can). I did a little reading and found that using a very light syrup approximates the natural sugar level in most fruits and adds few calories. This small quantity of sugar also helps the peaches retain their natural colour and texture. So I felt better about it. Yes, I know I could use Splenda, but I like to share food I make with friends and family and I know several who do not tolerate Splenda (it upsets their stomachs or leaves a nasty taste in their mouths). That whole surgar thing is my issue with making freezer jam. Yes, it is delicious but the amount of sugar is re.dic.u.lous.

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I had the pleasure of spending Wednesday evening at KLB's house. We had a delightful time talking, laughing at my kids, and watching SYTYCD and Glee. Then the joy for the week continued when she agreed to come to my house after work last night! Her timing was perfect, I had finished with the peaches and was finishing up the bread to get it in the oven. We had a nice time just visiting. I am really looking forward to our plans of hanging out once a week. I have the kids in a class down the street from her house so it works out great to hang out with her after their class on Wednesdays, so that is the plan until the end of October.

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Why no recipes since Monday? Here is the wrap up from this week:
Tuesday - PE grilled bacon wrapped tenderloin with minced garlic and squash seasoned with olive oil and season salt
Wednesday - Chili Mac from freezer meal exchange (more on that later this month) prepared and served at KLB's house
Thursday - PE grilled hot dogs and Moo served salad
Friday (tonight) - Who knows

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Fresh Peach Bread

from Tasty Kitchen
Print Recipe

3 whole eggs
2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup canola oil
2 cups fresh peaches, peeled-pitted-diced
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
3 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
1 dash allspice
1/2 cups chopped walnuts (or pecans)

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour 2 - 8 x 4 loaf pans. Beat eggs lightly. Blend in sugar, oil, and vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, soda, salt, and spices. Gradually stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined. Gently fold in the peaches and nuts. Pour into the pans. Cook for 1 hour or until tester comes out clean.

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I think that is everything that needed to be covered and as always, if you want more information on something I did, let me know.

Have a great Friday!

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