(August 2013) It doesn’t get fresher or more local than your own back yard, but just the same, I discovered what ‘Be careful what you wish for’ means, when I hit the peach mother load this season.
My beautiful five-year old Elberta peach tree delivered its first bumper crop and I must have resembled a frantic cartoon character with a leaky roof, running around with buckets to catch everything!
Just three short weeks ago, I lamented that once again, because I didn’t water the tree enough, it was only going to produce a bushel of rock hard, kumquat-size fruit that I’ll gladly let the squirrels swipe.
But after two weeks of downpours, the tree rallied! I was amazed and quite excited to arrive home from a week long vacation to find a dozen large peaches on the ground, and many more weighing the branches down!
I had so much fruit, it was the first August in years that I didn’t pick peaches with a friend of mine at nearby orchards. (Blog post 2012) It has always been a treasured tradition and it’s the only way or time of year I’ll eat a peach. The orchard has acres of peaches, nectarines and several apple varieties; I felt like I was walking through Provence or some other culinary destination. It was inspirational!
Anyway, I began checking the tree several times throughout the following days to gather up all the fallen fruit. Every time I went out there were at least five new ‘drops’ and I went to the tree first thing every morning to gather up peaches before bugs and animals got to them.
For the last three or four weeks I’ve collected pounds of sweet & juicy tennis ball size peaches! Unfortunately, I lost as many to bugs and animals, but that may not be a totally bad thing, as I had to scramble to use up the amount I had! My fruit philosophy is to wash the fruit and keep as much as possible, by cutting out bruises and bugs.
I’ve never baked or frozen so many crisps, muffins and pies in one week. I had peaches galore every day for snacks and with cereal, and I still ended up canning a few preserves, which I wasn’t looking forward to because it is such a labor, but I was running out of freezer space.
By the time the peaches reduced in the cooking process, I only had a few pints anyway. Too bad I didn’t find this lovely little website with its peach soup recipe sooner: http://myfrenchkitchen.wordpress.com/2013/07/12/summer-peach-soup-with-red-berries-and-provence/. Warning: Websites like these are like staycations causing one to linger and providing a refreshed perspective!
Nothing beats having your own peach tree with sun warmed, blushed peaches to gather several times a day, but be ready with the canning supplies and baking pans.