By this time in our lives, dietary restrictions may have put a damper on our Baby Boomer food choice options. We passively – and begrudgingly — shun the cakes, pies, fried chicken and all the good stuff that landed us in a position of having high cholesterol, hypertension and clothes that don’t fit quite like they did in our glory days. But moderation is the key to everything, so on the days we allow ourselves to “fall off the wagon,” we need to make sure it’s worth the tumble! Fresh fruits and vegetables are hard to beat when it comes to flavor and nutrition and there’s really nothing better than the smell of a fresh peach.
Scents have a way of bringing back the best memories from yesteryear. If you close your eyes in a kitchen filled with the aroma of a freshly baked peach cobbler, your mind may just take you back to the days of Grandma in her apron, proudly preparing a calorie-laden recipe with the fruit she just picked from the trees in her yard.
We have no such trees, so again this year we made the trip to Fredericksburg for a peach haul. While we did take advantage of the fruit stands sprinkled along the highway, I couldn’t resist taking the hayride at Jenschke Orchards to pick some of my own. It was swelteringly hot, but the experience made for much more fun than simply walking up to a counter, laying down your money and walking away with a pre-selected bushel.
My kitchen is my “happy place.” Getting in there and creating something delicious is very calming to me, and fresh fruits are always a favorite go-to, main ingredient. The results are well worth the extra effort because there’s nothing better than being able to select your own ingredients, add a dash of love and having the end result be some appetizing special indulgence.
I’ve made this cobbler for years. The recipe is originally from a June 1997 issue of “Southern Living.” It’s a no-fail, deliciously perfect use for those juicy, Hill Country peaches.
Easy Peach Cobbler
½ cup unsalted butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar, divided
1 T baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 cup milk
4 cups fresh peaches
1 T lemon juice
Ground cinnamon or nutmeg (optional)
Melt butter in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish.
Combine flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder and salt; add milk. Stir until dry ingredients are moistened.
Pour batter over butter. DO NOT STIR at this point.
Bring remaining 1 cup sugar, peach slices and lemon juice to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Pour over batter (again, do not stir). Sprinkle with cinnamon/nutmeg, if desired.
Bake at 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm or cool.
NOTE: Ice cream on top makes it perfect!
In addition to the mandatory peach cobbler or pie, making jam is a necessity. I use the Sure-Jell recipe and it’s never let me down.
It wouldn’t be fair to not mention Georgia. "The Peach State" is known for their high-quality fruit, with its southern region producing about 30 million pounds of fruit each year. The central region has a staggering 1.6 million peach trees and produces about 75% of the state’s total crop. California, North Carolina and New Jersey are also well-known for their peaches.
Peach season generally runs mid-May through early to mid-August, with some states (California) producing year-round goodness..
While the season is nearly over for this year, rest assured I’ll again be ready to bear the Texas orchard heat in 2019— a small price to pay for the enjoyment of the hayride and a bushel or two of handpicked peaches. We’ll cool off by eating homemade peach ice cream found in the nearby local shops. Then I’ll come home and head for the kitchen to prepare some more of nature’s bounty.
Just for a while, I’ll fill the house with scents of future memories that my family might someday fondly remember. When the peach-party is over, it’s back to making wiser dietary choices and paying better attention to my health-indicator numbers. But until then, I’ll keep a cardiologist on speed dial and hope for the best.
Stay on the sweet side of life,
For information on approximate ripening dates of Texas Hill Country varieties:
You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches. Dita Von Teese
An apple is an excellent thing — until you’ve tried a peach. George du Maurier (1834-1896)
The ripest peach is highest on the tree. James Whitcomb Riley