It’s week two for Summer Fest 2009 and this week’s theme is stone fruits! You name it, peaches, plums, nectarines, apricots, pluots and any variety associated with stone fruits is bursting at the seams today.
Margaret is continuing this cross-blog event every Tuesday for four weeks, which will be acelebration of fresh-from-the-garden food: recipes, growing tips, even tricks for storing and preserving summer’s best.
Read more about how Summer Fest 2009 works on Margaret’s site at Away to Garden.
When we started our first garden over 13 years ago, we knew exactly what we wanted to plant and dived head first into fruit trees. The two most important categories that topped our list were citrus trees and stone fruit trees. We wanted the garden to burst with citrus glory in winter and sweet, nectary bounty in the summer with all the stone fruits.
With a current collection of stone fruit trees ranging from white peaches, yellow peaches, Dapple Dandy pluots, two weeping Santa Rosa plums, and the Spice-Zee nectaplum, we’re still planning for more. Summer just isn’t complete without stone fruits and when they’re ripe and ready at the market or dropping like baseballs off your backyard trees, stone fruits signify the years most bountiful season. If you live in the right climate zone and have room in your balcony/backyard/land/or ranch, you must plant a stone fruit tree. There’s nothing more satisfying than picking a tree ripened peach, nectarine or what ever stone fruit off your own tree. Bite into it and the soft flesh will explode with sweet juice and the flesh will melt in your mouth.
What to do with all the garden fruit? The only minor problem to having a healthy, fruiting trees is that all the fruit will ripen at once! When that happens, be prepared for the onslaught of fresh fruit eating, cooking, canning, grilling and giving away to neighbors and the mailman. Maybe even your boss will appreciate a basket of peaches and give you that raise that you’ve always wanted! Last two years we had so much fruit, we couldn’t keep our dogs off the tree! The sweet smells from the sweet fruit had our dogs camping out underneath the tree, waiting for them to fall from the sky for dinner. They would even go as far as nudge them, lick them and leave bite marks on the fruit while still on the tree! .
Don’t forget to make cocktails your fruit! Drinking the stone fruits is one of our favorite ways to help deplete our huge bounty of fruit. Bellini’s are one of our favorites but a more kiddie friendly version are peach coolers. Even without the booze, these refreshing peach coolers are equally wonderful, satisfying and it’s for the whole family to enjoy. Everyone under 21 can celebrate summer’s peach drinking fest! But we’re never without options and have included an option for adding Gin for all the adults!
Having a batch of fresh peach puree is so versatile and it’s the perfect summer staple for all your outdoor parties. The puree can be added to your iced tea for a naturally sweet boost, or mixed with soda water and a little bit of sugar for that quenching beverage on a sweltering hot day. The possibilities are endless and it just doesn’t end with peaches, but plums, pluots and apricots make a fine and delicious puree as well.
Happy Summer fruit eating to you all!
-diane and todd
Peach Cooler Recipe
Yield: 1 Drink
Total Time: 10 Minutes
If you have some raspberry puree, it is a killer addition to this peach cooler.
- 1 ounce (30ml) fresh Peach Puree
- 1 1/2 ounces (45ml) fresh Orange Juice
- 1 ounce (30ml) Simple Syrup
- 5 ounces (150ml) Club Soda
- optional - 1 ounce (30ml) Gin & dash of peach bitters (this spiked version will be a hit with the 21 & over crowd!)
- Peel, pit, and core out the peach's rough pit flesh. Puree in a blender or food processor until smooth. (If your peach isn't super ripe and juicy & won't puree very easily, add a touch of OJ to help it out.)
- (optional) If you aren't sure you're puree is super smooth, strain through a wire mesh strainer.
- Put a few ice cubes in a glass, add the peach puree, OJ, and simple syrup. (If you don't have simple syrup, you can add @ 1 t sugar, or more to taste, and mix with the OJ to dissolve it.)
- Slowly pour the club soda along the inside wall of the glass, then gently stir everything to combine. Garnish with a slice of peach and a sprig of thyme if you want to get fancy.
Note 1: A basic simple syrup is a 1:1 ratio of sugar dissolved in water. example- One cup sugar dissolved in one cup of water. We usually make larger batches and keep on hand in the refrigerator.