Category Archives: Peaches

Is it peach jam or peach butter?

 

Whatever you would like to call this fruit spread is fine with me, as long as I get to eat a lot of it! This summer we had a minor peach incident in the Locavorious kitchen (hey, who forgot the vitamin C?!) which resulted in yours truly taking home a couple of pecks worth of very ripe peaches from Wolfe Orchard. Having already discovered the joys of jam during strawberry season, I was happy to be “stuck” with lots of juicy, ripe fruit. I made it into what I thought of as peach jam, canned some, and made the rest into large quantities of peach jam dessert bars, yummy, yummy, most of which ended up at Hollerfest, and ate the rest. When I finally had some time to consult the Ball Book of Home Preserving, I discovered that what I thought of as peach jam was really more of a peach butter.

Most of our peaches this year came from Wolfe Orchard in Tipton, Michigan, and a couple bushels came from Karpo Farms across the street. Orchardist Mary Wolfe and her assistant Sue were at the Ann Arbor Farmers market on Wednesdays and Saturdays throughout the season, and they will still be bringing apples and cider to market through December. Mary was very helpful in telling us when the peaches were harvested, which varieties preserve well, and how long we should let them ripen. Peaches are the only Locavorious fruit or vegetable that has something added to it before freezing; every peach half has been dipped in a vitamin C – water bath to minimize browning. Even so, if you thaw peaches before using them, the browning will start again, so just add frozen peaches to recipes straight from the freezer.

Peach jam or butter is a super easy, delicious way to enjoy your Wolfe Orchard peaches this winter. The peach skin, especially the skin of Red Havens and Garnet Beauties, gives the jam a lovely pink blush. (I don’t recommend it, but the peach skins are easily removed if you prefer by running the peach halves under hot water for a couple seconds.) This jam uses less than ½ the amount of sugar found in typical jam recipes, but it seems to be plenty with our perfectly ripened local peaches. Since I still happened to have a lot of extra frozen peaches at home I made a double recipe:

2 lbs frozen peaches

¼ cup water

~ ½ teaspoon grated lemon zest and ~ 3 T fresh lemon juice

1 cup sugar

Put the frozen peaches, water, lemon zest and lemon juice in a medium size saucepan; bring to a boil over medium heat. Break apart the frozen peaches, reduce heat and boil gently for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until peaches are soft and falling apart. For peach butter: cool peaches and transfer to food mill or blender, or use a stick blender and puree to a uniform texture. Return to saucepan and reheat. Skip this pureeing step for jam. Add sugar to the saucepan and stir until dissolved. Bring the mixture to a boil again, stirring, then reduce heat and boil very gently, stirring often, until the mixture thickens. This step always seems to take longer than I expect, but it shouldn’t be much more than another 20 minutes. The jam or butter is done when it holds its shape on a spoon. Another easy test for jammin’ is to spoon a small amount of the jam/butter onto a cold plate – if it holds its shape and doesn’t run, the jam is ready. Cool and refrigerate until ready to enjoy.

(While the jam or butter is still hot you could also preserve it by processing in a water bath canner, but this recipe only makes about 3 pints.)

Now you’ve got lovely peach butter to top toast, biscuits, or scones or to mix into yogurt, cottage cheese or baked goods. I’m going to use this batch for either jam thumbprint cookies or another round of those peach jam bars.

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Peach custard pie / happy birthday to me

Welcome our 1st Guest Chef! Chef Brandon Johns, Executive Chef/Partner of Vinology at 110 S. Main St in Ann Arbor.

Back in September, Chef Brandon did a “100 Mile Dinner” night….and except for the olive oil and spices, the food he prepared was all sourced from farms within ~ 25 miles of Ann Arbor. Brandon sources for the restaurant from farms and producers many folks know and love in this area: Tantre Farm, Garden Works, Back Forty Acres, Prochaska Farms, Ernst Farm, Four Corners Creamery, Calder Dairy, Wasem Fruit Farm, Kapnick Orchards, Almar Orchards, Jennings Brothers Stone Ground Grains, Snows Maple Syrup, and Turk Farms. Now I will fess up that I didn’t make it to that local dinner event, but ever since hearing about it, and trying Vinology’s food, I had hoped to talk to Brandon about local food. Then he stopped by during our distribution at the Corner Brewery / Downtown Ypsi Holiday Farmers Market. Score! Brandon agreed to share with us what he would cook from the Locavorious January share. To start things off, he recommended a peach custard pie. You can make this pie a truly Michivore pie – everything except the vanilla extract.

I baked this pie for myself for my birthday last weekend, for the finale of what turned out to be quite the tasty local meal. Friends showed up bearing Zingerman’s creamery cheeses, bread and wine. My husband pulled off a spicy lamb, dried fruit and parsnip stew with lamb from Old Pine Farm. With couscous and a side of Locavorious frozen broccoli from Tantre Farm sautéed in garlic and olive oil, we were good to go. After polishing off all that good food, the four of us ate the peach custard pie. I mean we ate the whole pie. Hey, shouldn’t birthday girls get to have another piece of their pie the next day?? That’s OK because I’m going to make another one of these, maybe when no one is coming over for dinner, ….and I’m home alone.
frozen-peaches
Brandon’s Peach Custard Pie

Ingredients for Pie Crust:
1 1/3 cups flour
¼ pound plus 2 Tablespoons cold butter, chipped
1 tbsp sugar
¼ cup ice water, or as needed
Method:
In a food processor equipped with a metal blade, combine flour, butter and sugar. Pulse 1 minute or until texture of mixture resembles coarse meal. Continuing to pulse, slowly add a little water at a time, until dough forms into a ball. Remove and place on a floured surface. Roll dough out. Firmly press into a 9-inch pie or tart pan. Chill and set aside.

Ingredients for Filling:
12 oz Locavorious frozen peaches
¼ cup heavy whipping cream
2 eggs
½ cup sugar
¼ tsp pure vanilla extract
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
~ 1/8 cup powdered sugar

Method:
Preheat oven to 375°F. Cut peaches into ¼-inch slices. Arrange slices neatly around dough until all have been used. Place pie on bottom oven rack and bake approximately 20 minutes to render juices from fruit. While pie is baking, combine all remaining ingredients, except powdered sugar, in a mixing bowl. Whisk until well blended. Remove pie from oven, spoon off excess water, and then pour egg mixture evenly over baked peaches. Return pie to oven and bake 20 minutes or until custard is set. Remove from oven and dust generously with powdered sugar.
peach-custard-pie

Jim Dandy, a real peach

 

img_05351Mmmmm, peaches. Such a wonderful reminder that summer does actually happen in Michigan. Since it’s been like 12 deg F for weeks running now, a reminder was in order. All of the Locavorious peaches came from Steve Karpo’s orchard. Most of the peaches are these Red Havens, a true Michigan variety, but we also have Harwell Beauties, Harcrest, and Jim Dandies. Wish I could say the Jim Dandies were my favorite, just because of that name, but the Red Havens are just sublime.

Soooo….now we have frozen peaches, and we’ve made smoothies, and we’ve made sorbet, and pies and cobblers….now how about something more savory? Some way to enjoy the flavor of those peaches with some grilled meat, chicken or shrimp?

Ginger Peach Sauce
1 shallot, diced
1 clove garlic, diced
few tsp oil – olive oil for a mild flavor, sesame for a more Asian flavor
12 oz frozen Locavororious peaches (no need to thaw, but you can)
1/4 teas ground bottled ginger or fresh ginger grated
1 teas soy sauce
1 teas rice vinegar
1 teas honey
few drops hot sauce

Heat oil in non-stick saucepan; saute shallot and garlic for ~ 1 minute over med high heat. Push shallots and garlic to side of pan, and add peach halves, cut side down. Reduce heat to medium and cook, covered for ~ 5 minutes. Uncover; break-up peach halves with a spoon and continue to simmer uncovered for a few more minutes. Mix together ginger, soy sauce, rice vinegar and honey. Add to pan. Add as many drops of hot sauce as you like. Simmer uncovered for about 10 min. if you prefer a smooth sauce, blend it. (I pulled out about half of the sauce and blended it, then mixed it back with the chunky sauce.) You know have a great savory peach sauce.

I then used the peach sauce for a little shrimp & veggie stir fry. It was like a peachy version of sweet and sour.
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