Yes, August is a most fruitful time of year. Much comes to harvest in this month. One favourite among adults and children alike are the Okanagan peaches. These orange and yellow gems are harvested at the end of July and start of August. Typically, when picked, peaches have about two weeks before they must be stored, frozen, or eaten.
You can store your peaches in two ways: pickling or jamming. Here is how to do a basic pickle:
4 cups sugar
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup water
2 tablespoons whole cloves
4 pounds of peaches
5 cinnamon sticks
Combine the sugar, vinegar, and water in a large pot and boil for five minutes. Press one or two cloves into each peach and place in the pot. With the peaches added, boil for twenty minutes. Pour the mixture into sterilized mason jars. Add a cinnamon stick to each and seal the jars. You should also process the jars in a hot water bath for about ten minutes to seal the pickled peaches.
A link to this recipe is found here: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/72126/nanas-southern-pickled-peaches/
Here is how to make a basic peach jam:
15 large peaches
6 cups sugar
½ teaspoon cloves
½ teaspoon allspice
Remove the pits and imperfections from the peaches. Put the peaches in a large pot and simmer on the stove with just enough water to keep them from burning. When they are warm and soft, muddle them or put them through a food mill. Add the sugar, lemon juice and rind, and spices. Cook slowly until thickened. Check using a plate, the jam should just hold its shape. Pour the jam into hot, sterilized jars and seal with paraffin.
A link to this recipe is found here: http://www.almanac.com/recipe/peach-jam
You can also freeze your peaches. This works if you want to keep your peaches for a later recipe. A peach can be stored in the freezer at 0 degrees Celsius or lower.
You can also eat your peaches right away. If you are in the Okanagan, purchase your peaches from Blossom’s fruit stand in Summerland, the Penticton Farmer’s market, Palomine Orchards in Oyama, or Paynter’s Fruit Market in Westbank. Vernon’s farmers market will surly have them to, as well as the Kelowna, Naramata, and Peachland farmers markets.
In Vancouver, some places bring in fresh peaches from the Okanagan. Find these at Pete’s Okanagan Fruit Stand in North Van, as well as several pickup locations brought to you by okanaganfruit.com (http://okanaganfruit.ca/ordering-pickup).
One really good peach recipe is a peach cobbler. It makes for a great dessert but is also a perfect breakfast food when accompanied by yogurt. Here is a recipe for peach cobbler straight from Mama Friesen:
6 cups fresh fruit. You can use straight peaches or combine with sour cherries or blueberries (can be fresh or frozen)
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup flour – you can substitute coconut or almond flour for white if you wish
½ cup quick or rolled oats
1/3 cup softened butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Peel and slice peaches. Skinning a peach is very easy. Just heat a large saucepan full of water to a boil. Gently add peaches, blanche for approximately one minute. Put peaches in a strainer in the sink and run cold water over the peaches. Skins will easily slide off.
Heat oven to 375 Fahrenheit. Grease bottom of baking dish with canola oil.
Measure fruit in a large, glass measuring cup. Pour into a deep-dish pie plate or an 8-inch, square baking dish. Spread fruit in prepared pan.
In a medium bowl, stir together remaining ingredients, working in the butter with the back of a fork. Sprinkle over fruit. Fruit should be covered nicely with the topping.
Bake about 30 minutes or until topping is golden brown and you can see the fruit bubbling on edges.
Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.
(This recipe was adapted from Betty Crocker’s cookbook.)