Summer is only complete when I’ve had sufficient quantities of corn on the cob, watermelon, berry crumble, and peaches. (This is only my edible list…and really, it has a few more items than listed, like endless amounts of blackberries freshly picked and directly consumed.) Last summer went by and I realized I had missed farm-stand peaches. Sure I could still purchase peaches at the local co-op, but the peaches you buy direct from the farmer at the side of the road, those are true summer peaches. They include more than just peachy-flavor, they include experience and connection.
Last summer I mourned the missed peaches, and then vowed not to miss them again in 2014. In my kitchen sits 20 lbs of peaches….I’m making up for last year. On my peach to-do-list: Peach preserves, peach and berry crumbles, frozen peaches for smoothies, and I’m dreaming of canning half peaches like my grandma always did.
First on the list, peach preserves. I was inspired by Marisa McClellan’s recipe for Lazy Peach Preserves, not because I’m lazy but because I have two small children and focused time on one activity is not something I’m granted these days. I didn’t follow the recipe exactly (I never do. Grandma never followed a recipe. She used her senses to measure and adjust. She taught me, or passed on the cooking-gene, or both.) Marisa’s original recipe calls for:
- 4 pounds peaches (I used close to 10)
- 1 1/4 cups honey (I didn’t increase this, farm-stand peaches are soooo sweet right from the tree)
- zest of 1 lemon, thinly sliced (I added some lemon juice as well)
Added bonus of smelling the house of peaches:: Ella decided she wanted to help out. I originally longed for a bit of solitude to prep the peaches, however I was happy to share something with her that I shared long ago with Grandma; processing healthy foods, to be enjoyed with family and friends for months to come. Again, experience and connection..
I’m one of those parents who allows their two year old to use a real knife..and crack eggs…and stir food in a hot pan. I say nourish their curiosity with trust and a safe environment, and you’ll be amazed at how helpful they can be by the age of four, which is how old Ella is. I’d say she cut my peach prep time in half by helping chop the peaches.
Summer 2014, life is peachy. Stay tuned for more peach-inspired fun.