What to do with over 20 lbs of peaches?
Find creative ways of using them up! The refrigerated life of a farmer’s market peach is about 2 weeks if you’re lucky, so I knew it would be difficult for Rebecca and me to eat all of these peaches before they got wrinkled and soft. What a shame of shames that would be. Rest assured, most of them did get consumed as they ought: over the kitchen sink and with abandon.
Our peaches came from the South Carolina State Farmer’s Market, the epicenter of South Carolina produce for supermarkets and restaurants as far away as New York City. Trucks pull in every weekday and drive away with refrigerated trailers full of fresh Certified SC Grown fruits and veggies. We did the same thing, except with a smaller, much less powerful truck called a Scion xA.
So the first way I found to preserve the sweet peachy goodness was to make fresh peach mostarda. Mostarda is, by American tastes, probably a little strange. The Northern Italian condiment starts with candying fruit and then adding powdered mustard seed for a zesty/spicy kick. It frequently features unappetizing day-glo colors (think: those bright candied cherries that you used to use to help your mom decorate Christmas cookies) and can be a little hard to find outside of specialty markets.
But the IDEA of it, mixing fruit with the spicy mustard condiment, sounded really terrific. So I perused the Internet to see if I could adapt an existing recipe so as not to yield a syrupy, garish, traditional mostarda. We had just purchased some excellent local hot dogs from MiBek Farms and I wanted to try them with some of this new peach condiment.
So here’s what you do.
Fresh Peach Mostarda
Adapted from Food in Jars
2 pounds peaches
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoons mustard seeds
1/3 teaspoon finely crushed red chili flakes
A pinch of cayenne pepper
Prepare a boiling water bath for canning, 3 half pint jars, new lids, and clean rings.
Cut peaches in half, remove pits (peel if you want… or not). Dice peaches.
Place diced peaches in a pan and add sugar, apple cider vinegar, mustard seeds, red chili flakes, and cayenne pepper. Over high heat, bring to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes at a rapid boil, until the syrup thickens slightly.
Portion the peaches out into prepared jars and top each off with syrup. Once jars are full, wipe rims, apply lids, and process in boiling water for 15 minutes. Let the jars cool on a folded kitchen towel. Once the jars are cool enough to touch, test their seals by pressing down on the lids. If they are firm and don’t pop back, the jars are adequately sealed.
If you want to use up a bunch of peaches, pears, plums, or apples as quickly as possible, the best thing to do is to make a cobbler or crisp. Take lots of fruit, some sugar and butter, and any number of sweet biscuit/cookie/crumb/scone toppings and mix it all together and POW! You’ve got a delicious dessert!
This peach crisp is adapted from a recipe at BonAppetit.com and was difficult not to eat all at once. The garam masala gives it a unique flavor but it is pretty potent. Don’t add too much.
Iron Skillet Peach Crisp
Adapted from Bon Appetit
1 cup all-purpose flour
⅔ cup (packed) brown sugar
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ cup (1 stick) chilled butter, cut into cubes
1½ cups pecans or walnuts
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2¼ pounds peaches (about 7 medium), cut into ½-inch wedges
½ cup (packed) brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon garam masala
½ teaspoon sea salt
Combine flour, brown sugar, and salt in a medium bowl with a whisk. Rub in butter with your fingers or a pastry blender until clumps form and no dry spots remain.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Toast nuts on a cookie sheet, tossing once, until slightly darkened and aromatic, 8–10 minutes. Let them cool, then coarsely chop.
Grease a 10″ cast-iron skillet with butter. Toss toasted nuts, peaches, brown sugar, granulated sugar, lemon juice, garam masala, and sea salt in a large bowl to combine and transfer to skillet. Crumble topping over filling. Bake until topping is golden brown (and cookie-like) and juices are thick and bubbling around the edges, 25–35 minutes.