Month: December 2011

Canning Peaches

Canned peaches have always been special treats in the winter, where prying the lid off of the mason jar opens some sort of capsule of the tastes of summer, sweet, robust, and full. Sure, we’d have to deal with apple after apple and orange after orange, imported from far away places, but there were always canned peaches, amongst ziploc bags full of frozen berries and dried fruits we’d retained from the summer.

We always add pandan leaves, or screwpine leaves, into the canning liquid for its subtle sweetness and fragrance.

Peeling, de-stoning and slicing the peaches. My mom has an old canning book faded from years of use. Iowa State University happens to have an accessible, extensive guideline to canning fruit.

Jars ready. Looking forward to canned peaches with porridge or cereal in the morning, topped off on vanilla ice cream with almond slices, or the peaches just by themselves.

Music: Sam Cooke – Bring it on Home

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Stone Fruit Tart for a Summer’s Afternoon

With fresh peaches piling up in the kitchen and pitted cherries in the fridge leftover from former pie-making efforts, a stone fruit tart seemed like the perfect dessert to make.

This recipe is so simple and versatile, since any stone fruit – cherry, apricot, plum, peach, and so on – can be used either by itself or in combination. Because we had used up all the apricots for jam, we were left with cherries and peaches.

Almonds are quickly becoming my favorite nut, if only for their multiple applications in such a board range of baked goods. This almond crust is packed with a flavorful crunchiness while remaining light and crisp. A pleasant compliment to the depth of flavor in the fruits.

Powered with sugar after baking, the tart isn’t overly sweet at all.

Floral hints from the fresh hydrangeas in the garden.

I made this tart for a dinner party my parents attended at night. While tempted to pinch a piece off for myself, I had to hope for leftovers. Fortunately, they saved a piece or two for me. Midnight snacks are the best kind.

Recipe adapted from Patricia Wells’ The Food Lover’s Guide to Paris: recipe here.

Music: Innocence Mission – Our Harry

Peaches and Apricots of Summer

Every summer my parents stock up on peaches, which they can and preserve for the winter months. Across the lake is a bountiful peach and apricot orchard, and by mid-to-late August, the fruit are virtually falling off the weighted branches of trees.

Each orchard in the valley has its own weighing scale, each unique. I find these quite attractive. My parents note that the price, at a dollar per pound, has gone up significantly in recent years.

There’s always the option of purchasing produce that has already been picked. This, however, never seems to be a viable option for our family.

Branches heavy with fruit.

Taking a break under the shade of apricot trees.

Golden orange, and fragrant!

This picture in particular speaks to me of the abundance of the summer months.

We fill the buckets apricots, careful not to bruise them.

The harvest for the day.

Now… time to can the peaches, make some jam, and other summer desserts!

Music: Ray Lamontagne – Lead Me On