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I absolutely adore stone fruit, from peaches to plums to cherries to apricots to nectarines. Yes, they’re delicious in desserts (and fresh from the bag, juice dripping down the chin), but I don’t discriminate in my kitchen: I love sauteed peaches and plums on salads, peach-marinated pork chops, cherry salsa and grilled nectarines. But the peaches I dream about in August look incredibly sad (not to mention tasteless) languishing in the grocery bin in December. So this year, I’m hoarding all the fruit I can and puttin’ it up, like Grandma’s preserves — with a twist.
We’re teaming up with other food and garden bloggers to host Summer Fest 2010, a season-long garden party. Each week we’ll feature favorite garden-to-table recipes and tips to help you enjoy the bounty, whether you’re harvesting your own goodies or buying them fresh from the market. To join in, check out awaytogarden.com.
Peach-Mustard Compote (pictured above)
This modern take on peach preserves gets savory notes from white wine, mustard seeds, peppercorns and fresh rosemary. It’s the perfect sweet-savory spread for a sharp cheddar panini or an easy appetizer when paired with fresh crackers. Use this handy how-to for step-by-step canning instructions.
Another savory treatment: Peach pickles! Okay, they’re more like sweet pickles than dill pickles, with picking spice, vinegar, sugar and a little kick from red pepper flakes. Pair with grilled pork and poultry for a sweet-and-sour accompaniment, mix into a rice pilaf with pistachios, or in a salad with some raw, shaved fennel.
You may think of drying, canning or jam-making to preserve fresh fruit – how about a little booze? Macerating is simply soaking fruit in alcohol — here’s how it’s done. Dana uses cherries and bourbon in her recipe, but any combination of flavorful booze and fruit (like peaches and Grand Marnier or apricots and dark rum) would be delicious come December atop ice cream or frozen yogurt.
Alton’s Fan-Dried Fruit
Alton Brown is no fan of “unitasker” kitchen appliances, so I knew I could count on him for a skip-the-food-dehydrator solution to drying my favorite stone fruits without heating up the kitchen or loading up dried fruit with lots of extra sugar. His solution: a box fan, an air filter, and a couple of days do the trick. Watch how he does it — I’ll have dried apricots, cherries and peaches in no time!
What’s on the docket for your August stone fruit save-a-thon?
More Stone Fruits With Friends and Family:
- Savory Stone Fruit recipes with Sara at Cooking Channel
- Paula’s Perfect Peach Cobbler on the FN Dish
- Peachy Party Foods from Alison at Food2
- How to Poach a Peach from Food Network UK
- Todd and Diane of White on Rice Couple: Riesling Poached Pluots.
- Margaret at A Way to Garden: What is stone fruit, anyhow? Plus: Clafoutis batter revisited.
- Caroline at The Wright Recipes: Ginger and Vanilla Poached Peaches.
- Kelly at Just a Taste: Peaches & Cream Cupcakes.
- Judy of Divina Cucina: Chocolate Amaretti Baked Apricots.
- Cate at Sweetnicks: Blueberry Peach Smoothies.
- Paige at The Sister Project: A Summer Fruit Whatchamacallit (not a pie, not a crisp, but delicious).
- Marilyn at Simmer Till Done: Cherry Apricot Pie with Ginger-Almond Crunch.
- Alana at Eating From the Ground Up: Stone fruit slump.
- Caron of San Diego Foodstuff: Grilled peach parfait and coconut peach gazpacho.
- The Gilded Fork: Dossier & recipes featuring peaches, apricots, nectarines, plums, cherries, almonds, coconuts.
- Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef: Gluten-free peach-blueberry buckle.
- Tara at Tea & Cookies: Making Peach Jam.
- Tigress in a Jam: Nectarine preserve with summer savory and white pepper.
You Might Also Like:
- In Season: Apricots
- In Season: Peaches
- Market Watch: Sweet, Juicy Nectarines
- Summer Fest Week 1: Cukes and Zukes
- Summer Fest Week 2: Corn
- Summer Fest Week 3: Top 6 Summer Herbs
Join the conversation on twitter at #summerfood.
These red gems are in season for only a short while. Enjoy them while you can!