Monday, September 26, 2011

Peaches & Pie Time

Hubby Jim has been perfecting peach pie and makes a delicious one. I don't even try to compete with him because he measures and times things exactly. I'm more the "throw it together" experimental type of cook. And I have some amazing surprises at times!

Peach season always brings back memories, too. When I was growing up on a New York State farm, we had a few peach trees, along with Father's apple trees, which yielded this delicious fruit. Mother always canned quantities of peaches for us to have for dessert in winter. She often made fresh peach shortcake during peach season.

Peaches Grown in China

Apparently peaches first were grown in China, where this was a symbol of longevity. Often actual peaches or replicas in porcelain were given as friendship and good will gifts. Chinese porcelain and paintings often were decorated with peaches or peach blossoms.

From China, the peach reached Persia, Egypt, Greece, Rome, and then northern Europe. Peach pits were brought to the Caribbean by Columbus and from there the fruit spread to Mexico.

Long before the thirteen American colonies were established, peaches in abundance were growing wild in this country.

Found in Florida

In the 16th century, Spanish colonists began growing peaches in Florida. From there peaches spread westward and northward so rapidly that the early English settlers were astonished to find them wild when they landed in Virginia.

Today, next to the apple, peaches rank among the most widely grown deciduous fruits in the United States.

Peach Shortcake - This was a treat I enjoyed as a child. Make shortcake from your favorite recipe, either biscuit or cake type. While warm, split biscuits or the cake and fill with sliced, sweetened fresh peaches. Spoon peaches over the top and served with whipped cream or sweetened heavy cream.

No-Bake Peach Pie is a quick and easy dessert. (But Jim prepares the traditional two crust baked one.) Prepare vanilla pie filling as directed on package. When cooked and cooled, fold in 2 to 3 peeled, sliced peaches. Pour into baked pie shell or graham or vanilla wafer crust. Chill until well set.

Before serving, top with whipped cream flavored with 1/2 teaspoon almond extract, if desired. Garnish with slivered almonds.

(c)Mary Emma Allen

(Mary Emma Allen has been writing cooking columns for more than 40 years. With hubby Jim and daughter Beth, she has compiled a family cookbook. (She gives and in person...on producing your own family cookbook.) E-mail: .