Fresh peaches brighten up the season
August 24, 2015
Staying on the topic of summer produce, let’s move our attention to peaches. These juicy, sweet hand-fruits are one of my personal favorites. And just like sweet corn that we mentioned last week, there are a variety of ways to enjoy them.
How to pick a peach
Just like any piece of fruit you purchase at the grocery store, peaches have simple signals to look for to find the best.
The first thing to consider is where your fruit is coming from. The less distance it has to travel from the farm to you, the better. So consider checking out your local farmers markets. This is important because in order for a piece of fruit to travel a long distance, farmers typically pick it earlier so it is harder and therefore less likely to suffer damage or spoiling during transit. Local produce doesn’t have to stand up to long travel, so farmers can wait longer before harvesting, ensuring fruit is only picked when ripe. Plus if it doesn’t have to travel far, it doesn’t have to be refrigerated; refrigerating fruit, especially peaches, before it is ripe changes the fruit completely. For example, peaches become mealy and will not ripen properly to become the juicy, sweet fruit that we love.
If you can, taste your peaches before purchasing. If the store or market you are at offers samples, take them up on it. This way you can know for sure that the fruit you are purchasing is ripe and flavorful to your desire.
If you cannot taste, look for color and texture. Peaches should be red around the stem; this means they will continue to ripen properly and will be juicy. Peaches that are yellow or even green around the stem were picked too early. You can also squeeze a peach to see if it is ripe. Gently squeeze the neck – where the stem is – of a peach. It should be soft, but not too soft; look for a little give at your touch.
Once you have your sweet treats home, you want to store them properly. Peaches should be stored at room temperature in a fruit basket that allows for proper air circulation. Baskets are best because they allow the air to flow around the fruit – this prevents over-ripening and spoiling.
Once peaches are ripe, they can be placed in the fridge if you cannot use them right away. Watch for wrinkles though – that means they are drying out.
You can also can your peaches to use throughout the rest of the year. Canning is a detail orientated process, but it can be easily mastered by anyone. You can find a detailed list of this process on our Pinterest.
If you are more a “seize the day” type, you can enjoy those peaches now. A nice glass pie pan makes for the perfect pie every time. I’m a fool for homemade pie – and it doesn’t get much easier than this:
- Slow Cooker Peach Pie Filing
- 8 ripe peaches, peeled and sliced (or chopped)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup brandy, optional
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Cut up peaches and place them in a large mixing bowl. Mix peaches with sugar, brown sugar, brandy, cinnamon and vanilla. Pour your mixture into the slow cooker and top it off with butter. Cook for 1 ½ to 2 hours on low, stirring half way through. Peaches should be tender and the sauce should thicken. Enjoy it alone warm with ice cream or allow it to cool and bake it in a pie.
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Summer ends on a sweet note with fresh corn
August 17, 2015
I grew up in the southern thumb if Michigan. My neighborhood didn’t have sidewalks and corner stores – we experienced budding childhood in between cornfields and cow farms. It wasn’t uncommon for kids to drive around at night and steal ears of corn, fresh and ripe from the towering stalks.
The summer treat is no stranger to me and while my favorite way to enjoy it remains a simple boil in some sugar water, there are many new ways I incorporate the staple in my diet today.
For the basics, I must have some quality cob holders. These rubber handles with strong stainless steel prongs make it super simple to hold hot corn fresh from the pot. These heat-resistant holders from OXO are non-slip and come in a set of eight – enough for a family of four.
If oven roasting is your style, a silicone brush is a must. Simply place cobs on a baking sheet, brush with melted butter, season liberally and bake until tender with golden brown spots. This silicone brush is heat resistant and holds onto whatever sauce or baste you are using. The silicone bristles remove for easy cleaning and the rosewood handle is easy to hold.
For something a little different, consider fire roasted corn salsa. It sounds complicated, but this multi-use dish is as easy as it gets. For this project there are two must-haves that I recommend: a corn peeler and a strawberry huller. The peeler makes sense; roast the corn and then easily remove the kernels. But a strawberry huller? Good salsa means good tomatoes, which if you’re like me, are not the easiest to dice. Using a strawberry huller makes it real easy to remove the pit. These simple tools will make crafting your own salsa a cinch.
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Find this recipe and more on our Pinterest page.
Survive hot days with delicious fruit infused water
August 10, 2015
Infused waters are an excellent way to cool down — and with the last hot days of summer approaching, there’s no better time than now to start exploring their benefits. Acclaimed to have the magic powers to help you detox and slim down, fruit infused water is a healthy alternative to fruit juice. So grab your favorite water bottle, carafe or pitcher:
This infusing pitcher is top of the line. This pitcher comes with three different inserts: a mesh tea steeper, a perforated fruit infuser and a solid insert for ice. Make your favorite fruit infusions, homemade iced tea or keep mixed drinks cool without watering them down. This glass pitcher is BPA free and dishwasher safe. Use it hot or cold and enjoy the gasket seal which offers a spill-proof pour.
Fruit infusion pitcher
This simple pitcher is perfect for those just looking to try infused water. The middle insert is designed to hold fresh fruit, herbs and veggies in place while the side slits allow the flavor and nutrients to seep into the water. The clear finish makes an excellent display piece during a get together and the entire piece is super easy to clean. This acrylic pitcher is long-lasting and durable – perfect for standing up to the wear and tear of a busy family home.
It doesn’t matter how fast paced your life is, delicious fruit infused water is still obtainable. This great tumbler is also an infuser – perfect for hot loose leaf tea and cold water alike. This piece is also BPA free and features a leak-proof seal. Th double wall insulation keeps beverages cold and hot while the convenient soft grip makes travel easy. Add you favorite natural flavors and throw this tumbler in your backpack, gym bag, lunch box and anywhere else you need to easily take it on the go.
Check our our favorite recipes:
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Find excellent fruit infusion recipes on our Pinterest page.