This past weekend I had the wonderful fortune of getting fresh yellow cling peaches straight from a California peach ranch. One of my dearest friends supplies me with the best peaches in the summer. The peaches are so sweet and delicious...it is such as shame that most yellow clings get sent straight to the cannery. The peaches are a bit stubborn because the flesh does cling to the pit. They are a tad more work but absolutely worth the effort.
So, after the peaches are grilled for afternoon BBQs, quartered for pie, sliced for cobbler, chopped for jam, pureed for sweet ice tea, and frozen for winter months, what do you do with them? Dice them up for peach vinegar! For peach vinegar... macerate (in a nonreactive pot) 3 cups small diced peaches with 1 cup champagne or rice wine vinegar for 1 week. Keep covered and stir the mixture once or twice a day. At the end of the week strain the mixture, getting as much liquid out as possible. Store in a sterilized jar and keep in fridge for up to 3 months.
The peach vinegar makes a lovely mild, sweet, peachy vinegar - great for summer salads. Fresh greens, sliced fresh peaches, and spiced candied pecans tossed in peach vinaigrette...a perfect lunch as the last of the hot summer days come and go...wow, tomorrow it's September already.
- 1 ripe peach, cut into chunks
- 2 Tablespoons peach vinegar (see above), or champagne vinegar
- pinch salt
- 1/2 teaspoon honey
- 4 Tablespoons pecan, walnut or canola oil
In a small food processor or blender, puree peach until smooth. Add vinegar, salt and honey. Blend for 10 seconds. Continue to blend on low while drizzling in the oil. Use immediately.
SPICED CANDIED PECANS
This recipe for spiced candied pecans is inspired by the same friend who's family owns the peach ranch. These are usually made with walnuts (which come from this ranch as well in the fall!), but works well with pecans too.
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon honey (or corn syrup)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 Tablespoons pumpkin pie spice (or your desired combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, ginger)
- 3 cups pecan or walnut halves
Melt sugars until dissolved and starting to bubble. Add honey, salt, vanilla, and spices. Stir in nuts till they are all coated. Pour nuts onto a foiled and greased (or use a silpat) baking sheet. Toast nuts at 350F for 6-8 minutes. Remove from oven. When cooled break apart and serve in salad. These candied nuts keep well in the freezer in an airtight container for snacking as well.