Thursday, August 15, 2013

A Summer tradition: North Carolina Peaches


"...the walls were wet and sticky, and peach juice was dripping from the ceiling. James opened his mouth and caught some of it on his tongue. It tasted delicious."
Roald Dahl, James and the Giant Peach

Add fuzzy and fragrant to the description. 

 I've been waiting all summer for the perfect peach. Everyone knows that going to the orchard is the best way to buy them. Lucky for me, we live less than half an hour from several orchards. A friend alerts me when picking begins.  Then for weeks, right through the middle of September, different varieties come available. 





Reports say this year's crop is good, but not terrific. Too much rain. Willing to take my chances we headed up Saturday and got a box full of Majestic peaches at Leonard' Orchard, in Cana, Va.  Only paid $6.00 because they had some soft spots. When we stopped at the busy fruit market a couple of miles away, they were four times that price.




Once home I sorted them on cookie sheets and covered them with a clean towel. Over the next few days I hovered, sniffing for the tell-tale luscious aroma. Then I squeezed gently, checking for just the right amount of give.By Monday morning several passed the test. And the reports were wrong--they were perfect. 


scones with peaches and pecans

We've devoured them with every meal. For breakfast, Peach Streusel Muffins or, like this morning, in scones. With lunch, I'll eat one washed free of fuzz. At dinner time, I'll make the tomato, peach, corn salad I found in the Wall Street Journal , and for dessert, Fresh Peach Sorbet. (I added zest of one lime and it's juice to the recipe.)

When I can't eat them fast enough it's time to make peach butter in the crock pot and freeze it.  

If you have favorite recipes, share them now! The window of opportunity is short. 

Scones

Mix together:
1 1/2 c flour plus 2 Tbsp flour                   
4 Tbsp sugar                                            
2 tsp baking powder
pinch salt

Cut in 2 Tbsp butter 

Add 2 peeled and diced peaches.

Mix together 1/2 cup milk and one egg. Pour into dry ingredient until just mixed.
Dump into a pie plate lightly greased (or sprayed). Sprinkle with pecans and cinnamon-sugar.

Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes.                                  

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