With each season, there are wonderful fruits that seem perfect for enjoying the best that nature has to offer. While some fruits like watermelon tend to be very seasonal, there are a few fruits like peaches that are great for different uses all year long.
How to Prepare Peaches for Later Usage
The important part of creating any great recipe with a fruit base is making sure that it can be created with the right flavor of the fruit. Some will specifically call for fresh fruit. In some cases, like recipes with peaches, fresh fruit is not a mandate.
Today there are so many great ways to get peaches year-round. Because of this, it is a great fruit for creating all kinds of specialty food items. While traditionally, peaches were thought of as a summer fruit, many changes in the way Americans get their fruit and how it is packaged and preserved has changed the way people think of cooking and baking with peaches.
In the 1930s-1970s, canned peaches fresh from the harvest was common. While mass production of canned fruits was still widespread, many people personally harvested or purchased fruit and did the canning themselves in mason jars. This allowed for peach recipes to be enjoyed offseason.
Another great tradition that started centuries ago was the making of peach jam, peach syrup, and peach preserves. Widely held as a delicacy by many, peach preserves and jams brought their unique refreshing sweetness to any season.
A more recent and now more common way people have been enjoying the taste of fresh peaches offseason is through slicing and packaging and freezing. This became more popular when the needed packaging became more readily available to do this at home.
Since glass containers cannot be used for freezing and paper was insufficient for this usage, the creation of another form of packaging became necessary to allow for this delicious way to enjoy the fruit offseason. This occurred when plastic bagging was created.
While there are some very serious concerns for the environment and the overuse of plastic, plastic bags like the ones frozen peaches come in are recyclable and should be recycled. The ability to have frozen peaches in the winter months has allowed people to readily make fresh peach pie and other peach recipes all year long.
Peaches for All Seasons
Of all the seasons when peaches are most loved, the summer and the holidays are tops. During the summer months when the crop is fresh off the tree, there are so many wonderful recipes and uses for peaches. Fresh fruit salads, peach shortcake, freshly whipped cream cakes with a layer of peaches, fruit tarts, peach pie, and peach preserve making are tops in the summer.
Peaches also make a wonderful juice when they are fresh. The sweet delicate refreshing taste of freshly harvested peaches in a juice can be enjoyed best in summer. However, with proper bottling, the juice can be sealed and enjoyed year-round.
This is also the time when people are inclined to experiment more with peaches as garnishes to quiche or other light fare and are a wonderful part of any fresh fruit salad. Another great addition has been the surge of peach relishes and sauces. While peaches are traditionally thought of as a dessert, a peach glaze is quite popular on chicken and barbeque as well as making sauces for Chinese and other Asian food recipes.
Fall is traditionally the time for peach cobbler. In fact, a warm peach cobbler is a perfect Thanksgiving dessert in addition to or substitute to peach pies. Peach bread puddings are spectacular and peaches on pancakes and waffles with whipped cream have become quite the popular trend any time of year.
Wintertime and the holidays is also great for special peach cookies, pies, pastries, specialty breakfast foods, and candy making. Each of these items have numerous wonderful recipes with peaches to be enjoyed during the holidays and year-round. These recipes can call for fresh peaches, frozen peaches, peach preserve, peach syrups and dried or canned peaches.
Since peaches easily preserve and become great for marmalades, jams, and preserves, they are perfect for making Christmas and Holiday cookies. The marmalades, jams, and preserves easily nestle in pillow cookies or act as a cookie topping garnished with powdered sugar. They make a fabulous gift and are great for entertaining.
Dried peaches are great for candy and chocolate making. Usually dark chocolate is the preferred type of chocolate for dipping dried and candied peaches. The contrast of the two flavors works wonderful and is a delight for the holidays.