We haven't really been cooking. We've been eating—greens from the farmers' market, cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, green beans off the vine—but nothing really that needs preparing. Our prep time has been spent on preserving. We've made this tomato sauce, Alex's grandfather's bread and butter pickles, ratatouille from the Victory Garden Cookbook, blackberry jam. We've frozen blanched green beans and blueberries and blackberries. Now we're on to peaches.
I wasn't sure what to do with them at first—the whole crop has been affected by some sort of powdery mildew, which means many peaches are half good, half rotten. It's hard to eat them fast enough. But the other day I tried peeling them, slicing them up, and cooking them down with a few tablespoons of sugar. They let go of a lot of juice, and I realized why canned peaches are so popular. They make their own syrup with a little bit of sugar, and they're delicious over ice cream or plain yogurt. We've put up six pints so far, and eaten two more.
It's a lot easier than jam, which right now I don't have time for, and about as delicious as my mom's frozen strawberries, which she does the same way (minus the heat). If you have a bumper crop, give it a whirl. I'm thinking oatmeal with peaches and syrup come January.
This is more of a recommendation than a recipe, but here goes. You want very ripe peaches for this preserve—their skins slip off easier, and they'll have more juice. That said, a few under ripe pieces of fruit thrown in won't hurt anything, and they'll soften with the cooking. Here's a trick for peeling peaches: dip them in boiling water for 15 seconds. After that, the skins will slip off easily with your hands.
4 cups sliced fresh peaches, skins removed
1-2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Combine the peaches and sugar in a medium size heavy-bottomed pot. Warm over medium-low heat until the juices start to release. Cook, stirring often, for about 15 minutes, or until there is enough juice in the pot to cover the peaches. Spoon into jars (if you're using glass, don't fill more than 2/3 of the way) and freeze. When the time comes, thaw and serve over oatmeal, plain yogurt, vanilla ice cream, with whipped cream, or on their own.