Georgia Peaches on my Mind
“You’re sweet as a Georgia peach!” It’s a compliment that has been tossed around forever, but did you know there is actually some science behind the incredible flavor and sweetness of Georgia peaches?
A fresh, juicy, sweet Georgia peach is the most flavorful peach you can eat. And that’s no accident. A lot of factors perfectly come together to give Georgia peaches their one-of-a-kind legendary flavor. Read on to learn all about it.
Life in Georgia during the summer offers little reprieve from the heat with brutally searing days, hot nights, capped off with intense humidity. This weather, however, is the exact reason Georgia peaches are sensationally sweet. The constant heat and humidity stimulates the peaches to produce sugar day and night unlike similar growers, where the cooling down at night enhances a peach’s red color, but hinders sugar production. So it comes down to taste versus looks...is that even a question? Taste, of course!
We thought so too, and with August being National Peach Month, it’s perfect timing to team up with the Georgia Peach Council to bring you the most delicious sweet and succulent recipes of the summer.
Georgia peaches have a rich history in the South and were originally introduced by Franciscan monks to St. Simons and Cumberland Islands in 1571. Later, in the mid 1700s, the Cherokee Indians further cultivated peach orchards. Georgia, and particularly the Fort Valley plateau where 90 percent of Georgia peaches are grown, historically has less freezes, more consistent rainfall, less hail and consistent year-over-year temperatures. To say the least, Georgia peach farmers know a thing or two about growing peaches! It’s hard work, but the rewards are so sweet.
The vast majority of Georgia Peach Council growers’ fruit is picked, packed and shipped in the same day to give the peaches more time on the tree and less time in supply chain. They gladly take on this logistical challenge because they are simply obsessed with flavor.
Log on to the Georgia Peach Council’s Website, which offers a peek into their productions and offers uses for those sweet peaches by Gena Cox, the peach expert. Gena is the perfect woman for the job. A native of a small town in the middle of Georgia, her foray into the kitchen started at a young age in her family home, which was surrounded by peach orchards. It was only natural she and her mom spent many hours preparing a variety of dishes that highlight fresh Georgia peaches. To learn more about Gena, her cookbooks, southern fare and more great recipes just log on to www.gapeaches.org.
Peaches are a good source of vitamins A, B and C, and a medium peach contains only 37 calories. Don’t be shy, enjoy the delicious, juicy sweet taste of what these recipes have to offer.
PEACH CROSTADA (Pictured above)
Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 45 mins | Level: Intermediate | Serves: 6
4-5 ripe Peaches, peeled, sliced and pitted
¼ cup plain Flour
⅓ cup Sliced almonds
¼ tsp Vanilla extract
½ cup Sugar
1 refrigerated Pie crust
2 Tbsps Peach preserves, melted
2 Tbsps Unsalted butter
1 Tbsp Unsalted butter, melted
Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large bowl, toss peaches, flour, almonds, vanilla and sugar. Lay crust flat on greased baking sheet and arrange peaches in center. Fold edges of crust so that they overlap edges of peaches. Brush peaches with melted preserves and top with pats of butter. Brush crust with melted butter to help with browning.
Bake for 40-45 minutes or until golden. Serve with vanilla ice cream, if desired.
GRILLED CHICKEN WITH CUCUMBER PEACH SALSA
Prep time: 15 mins
Salsa: 2 cups Peaches, peeled and chopped
1 cup English cucumber, chopped
½ cup Red bell pepper, chopped
2 Tbsps Lime juice
½ cup Feta cheese, crumbled
3 Tbsps Mint, chopped fresh
Chicken: 4 boneless, skinless Chicken breasts
1 tsp Ground cumin
1 tsp Brown sugar
½ tsp Kosher salt
1 Tbsp Olive oil
Pepper, to taste
In a medium bowl, combine peaches, cucumber, bell pepper and lime juice and set aside. Preheat grill pan to medium-high heat. Slice chicken breasts horizontally to yield two cutlets. Combine cumin, brown sugar, salt and pepper. Sprinkle both sides with spice rub, and drizzle with olive oil. Grill chicken for 3 minutes per side or until done. Stir feta and mint into salsa, spoon over chicken, and serve.
Prep Time: 60 minutes | Level: Intermediate
Peaches-Halved or Sliced
Quantity: An average of 17½ pounds is needed per canner load of 7 quarts; an average of 11 pounds is needed per canner load of 9 pints. A bushel weighs 48 pounds and yields 16 to 24 quarts – an average of 2½ pounds per quart.
Quality: Choose ripe, mature fruit of ideal quality for eating fresh or cooking.
Please read Using Pressure Canners and Using Boiling Water Canners before beginning. If this is your first time canning, it is recommended that you read Principles of Home Canning.
Procedure: Dip fruit in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds until skins loosen. Dip quickly in cold water and slip off skins. Cut in half, remove pits and slice if desired. To prevent darkening, keep peeled fruit in ascorbic acid solution. Prepare and boil a very light or medium syrup or pack peaches in water, apple juice, or white grape juice. Raw packs make poor quality peaches.
Hot Pack: In a large saucepan place drained fruit in syrup, water, or juice and bring to boil. Fill jars with hot fruit and cooking liquid, leaving ½-inch headspace. Place halves in layers, cut side down.
Raw Pack: Fill jars with raw fruit, cut side down, and add hot water, juice, or syrup, leaving ½-inch headspace. Adjust lids and process.
PEACH AND PROSCUITTO PIZZA
Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 15 mins | Serves: 8
1 lb. Homemade or store bought pizza dough,
Cornmeal for sprinkling
2 Peaches, pitted and sliced into thin wedges
6 very thin slices Prosciutto, torn into pieces
3 oz. Blue cheese, crumbled
Small handful fresh basil leaves
Olive oil to drizzle
Preheat oven to 450°F. Sprinkle metal baking sheet lightly with cornmeal. Divide dough in half and stretch pizza dough into two thin rounds.
Place on cookie sheet and bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven, top with prosciutto and peaches. Crumble cheese over pizza, leaving a ½-inch border around edges.
Return pizza to oven and bake until crust is browned, about 10 minutes. Drizzle with olive oil and top with basil leaves. Slice pizza into wedges and serve.
BOURBON GLAZED PORK TENDERLOIN WITH GRILLED PEACHES
Prep time: 20 mins | Serves: 4-6 | Level: Intermediate
1 tsp Smoked paprika
¼ tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Salt
2 tsps Olive oil
½ cup Peach preserves
2 Tbsps Bourbon
2 Pork tenderloins, trimmed and silver skin removed
5 Peaches, unpeeled and cut into quarters
To make spice rub, combine paprika, cinnamon, and salt. Coat tenderloins with olive oil and sprinkle with spice rub.
Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Grill pork, turning as needed, until lightly charred and meat thermometer inserted in thickest part registers 135°F (about 9 minutes). Make peach glaze by combining peach preserves and bourbon. Mix well. During the last few minutes of grilling, brush pork with peach glaze to finish. While pork is grilling, place peach quarters on grill for about 2 minutes per side, until lightly charred. Allow pork to rest 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with grilled peaches.
Grilled Peaches with Honey & Goat Cheese
Prep time: 10 mins | Serves: 3-6 | Level: Beginner
3 Tbsps local Honey
4 Tbsps Pine nuts, toasted
3 large fresh Peaches with peel, halved and pitted
2½ oz. Goat cheese, crumbled
Preheat grill for medium-high heat. Lightly oil the grill grate. Place peaches on the prepared grill, cut side down. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the flesh is caramelized. Turn peaches over. Drizzle the top sides with the local honey, and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the peach halves to individual serving dishes. Sprinkle with crumbled goat cheese and pine nuts.
Grilled Peach and Prosciutto Appetizers
Prep time: 15 mins | Serves: 3-6 | Level: Beginner
4 firm, ripe Peaches, peeled and quartered
16 slices Prosciutto
Wrap each peach quarter with prosciutto so that it goes around twice. Secure with toothpick. Grill until prosciutto has browned a bit. Cool slightly before eating.
Baked Brie with Peaches and Almonds
Prep time: 10 mins | Serves: 8-10 | Level: Beginner
1 wheel Brie cheese, about 8 oz.
3 medium fresh Peaches, peeled and diced
3 Tbsps Brown sugar
1 Tsp ground Cinnamon
¼ cup slivered Almonds, toasted
To toast the almond slivers, preheat the oven to 350°. Place the almonds in a single layer in a jelly roll pan, and place in the heated oven. Cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring a few times, until fragrant and toasted. Let almonds cool and keep oven at 350°.
Place Brie wheel in a small casserole dish or baking pan. In a small bowl, combine peaches, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Spread mixture over Brie. Sprinkle with almonds. Bake in the preheated oven for about 10-12 minutes, or until peach mixture is just starting to bubble and cheese is softened throughout. Serve warm with bread and/or crackers.
COUSCOUS SALAD WITH SNOW PEAS PEACHES AND MINT
Prep time: 20 mins | Serves: 4 | Level: Beginner
1 cup regular or whole wheat Couscous
2 Tbsps Olive oil
1½ fresh Peaches, peeled, pitted and diced
1 cup fresh or thawed Snow peas
¼ cup shelled Pistachios
2 Tbsps fresh Lime juice
¼ cup fresh Mint, torn into small pieces
½ tsp Salt
Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in couscous, snow peas, oil, and ½ teaspoon salt. Remove from heat, cover, and let sit for 5 minutes.
Flake couscous with fork and place in large mixing bowl. Add peaches, pistachios, lime juice and olive oil. Toss to coat, stir in mint, and season with salt and pepper. Serve cold or room temperature.
GRILLED FISH TACOS WITH FRESH PEACH SALSA
Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 10 mins | Level: Intermediate | Serves: 4
1½ cups fresh Peaches, diced
¼ cup Red onion, thinly sliced
1 firm, but ripe Avocado, diced
½ small Jalapeño, minced
2 Tbsps fresh Cilantro, chopped
3 Tbsps of Lime juice
For fish:1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Brown sugar
1 tsp Ground coriander
2 tsps Olive oil
Avocado, peeled and sliced thin
1½ lbs. fresh Salmon, halibut or catfish
Combine salsa ingredients in a medium bowl and refrigerate until ready to use. Prepare grill to medium-high heat. In a small bowl, combine cumin, sugar, and coriander. Brush fish with olive oil and sprinkle with spice mixture. Grill fish on oiled grill grates for 3-5 minutes per side until cooked to your liking. Char tortillas on grill about 10 seconds on each side. Serve tacos with fresh salsa and desired toppings.
PEACH AND BLACKBERRY PECAN CRUMBLE
Prep time: 20 mins | Cook time: 45 mins | Serves: 6-8
Filling: ¼ cup sugar
3 Tbsps Cornstarch
¼ tsp Allspice
4 Georgia peaches, peeled and cut into ½-inch wedges
2 cups Fresh blackberries, room temperature
Crumble: ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup brown sugar
½ tsp Ground cinnamon
¼ tsp Kosher salt
4 Tbsps Butter, softened
⅔ cup Pecans, coarsely chopped
Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a 9-inch baking dish with butter or cooking spray and set aside. In a small bowl combine sugar, cornstarch, and allspice. Combine peaches and berries in a large bowl and toss with sugar mixture. Spread evenly into baking dish and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Using the back of a fork, incorporated butter into flour mixtures until it resembles small peas. Stir in pecans and spread mixture evenly over fruit. Bake for 45-50 minutes until fruit is bubbly and crust is golden brown. Serve with fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, if desired.