This year’s peaches from our corner of Michigan are outstanding. That wet spring weather and mid-July heat wave that drove folks and crops haywire apparently did not impact this year’s peach crop. Locavorious got peaches from Wolfe Orchard in Tipton and Kapnick Orchard in Britton, both less than 35 miles from Ann Arbor. Scott Robertello, co-owner with Sharon Kapnick of Kapnick Orchards, helped us determine which peach varieties are the best for preserving by freezing. This year we froze a lot of Bellaire and Flaming Fury. Since there are more than 2000 varieties of peaches grown in the US, it’s wonderful to have local, skilled orchardists willing to give guidance as well as cultivate great fruit.
Kapnick Orchards now has its fourth generation of Kapnicks growing fruit and working at the farmers market; Sharon’s grandparents started bringing fruit to the Ann Arbor Farmers Market in 1935, and you can say hi to her kids every week at the market today!
Of course this time of the year, all I really want to do with peaches is eat them! Let them ripen to sweet juicy perfection on the kitchen counter and then stand over the sink while snacking. So for when you are tired of just eating those wonderful fresh local peaches “straight up” here are a couple of recipes.
Something sweet – peach crumble!
This recipe comes from the Whole Heart Group, a new local food business in town. Whole Heart prepares and sells delicious, nutritious and seasonally fresh prepared foods, and consults on healthier prepared foods, recipe and menu plans and nutritional support. I love the simplicity of their crumble, and that it works with fresh or frozen, or a variety of local fruits.
2 cups sliced fresh or thawed frozen peaches
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup rolled oats
2 tablespoons softened butter + more if crumble too dry
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange peaches in the bottom of a buttered 8×8 baking dish. In a small bowl create topping by combining flour, oats, butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Stir with a fork until mixture is crumbly, adding more butter if necessary. Fold in nuts. Sprinkle topping over peaches and bake for 15 minutes until golden brown.
Something spicy – peach salsa!
Peaches are so amenable to salsa, you can really just take your favorite tomato-based salsa recipe and swap out the tomatoes for peaches. Or use both tomatoes and peaches. Or don’t even worry too much about a recipe – just toss together diced peaches, diced bell peppers and/or onion, either fruit juice or vinegar, and something spicy or flavorful! Or if you prefer more specifics, here is my favorite peach salsa recipe, adapted from The Coyote Café cookbook by Chef Mark Miller. If it is winter and you are using frozen peaches, let them thaw ~ 1 hour, or just enough such that you can dice them into little cubes.
1 cup diced peaches (about 2 large peaches)
1 teaspoon unseasoned rice vinegar
1-2 teaspoons dark brown sugar (optional)
1 or 2 jalopena or serrano chiles, or 1 or 2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, minced
¼ cup finely chopped sweet red peppers
¼ cup finely chopped sweet onion (optional)
Juice of 1 lime (~ 1 tablespoon)
1 tablespoon finely minced cilantro
Mix all the ingredients together. Taste and adjust with more lime or cilantro if desired. A sprinkle of salt is a nice addition. Enjoy promptly with tortilla chips, burritos or grilled stuff.
If you want to make peach salsa ahead of time and have it keep well, cook the salsa as follows: mix all the ingredients except lime and cilantro. Bring to a boil and simmer gently for ~ 20 minutes. Cool and add lime juice and cilantro. Serve at room temperature with grilled pork, chicken or fish.