Peaches are abundant this time of year, especially in South Carolina, the number two peach producing state in the nation—SC even out produces Georgia, “The Peach State”.
There are two types of peaches – clingstone and freestone. Clingstone peaches have firm flesh that clings to the pit or seed of the fruit. Usually the first peaches of summer, these are perfect for freezing, cooking, drying, and eating fresh as they hold their shape well. Freestone peaches are juicy and sweet with soft flesh that separates easily from the pit. This luscious fruit is great for cooking or just eating out of hand.
The best way to select peaches is by the feel or smell of the fruit, not by the color. Be on the lookout for a somewhat firm fruit that yields to light pressure and has a sweet, “peachy” smell.
Below is one of my favorite recipes for peach cobbler.
- 4 cups sliced, peeled peaches
- ½ cup sugar plus 2 T. sugar, divided
- 1 T. cornstarch
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 cup flour
- 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
- ¼ tsp. cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ¼ cup vegetable shortening
- ¼ cup milk
- 1 egg, slightly beaten
- ½ tsp. vanilla extract
- Dash of nutmeg
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine peaches, ½ cup sugar, water, cornstarch, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a saucepan. Heat at medium, stirring, until mixture comes to a boil and thickens. Simmer and stir for one minute. Pour mixture into an 8-inch square glass baking dish or 2-quart baking dish. Place in oven.
For crust, combine flour, 2 T Sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in shortening until coarse crumbs form. In a separate bowl, combine the egg, milk, and vanilla. Add the flour mixture all at once to liquids. Stir just until moistened. Remove the baking dish from the oven and drip dough in 8 mounds on top of the hot fruit.
Return the pan to the oven and bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until cobbler is golden brown. Serve warm.
Nutrition information per serving: Calories: 230; Fats: 7 grams; Cholesterol: 30 mgs; Protein: 3 grams; Carbohydrates: 39 grams
Locally, fresh peaches are readily available. The following are a few of the farmers markets in the Charleston area:
- Charleston Farmers Market—open Saturdays from 8 am – 2 pm, Marion Square at Calhoun and King Streets; 843-724-7305
- Mt Pleasant Farmers Market – open Tuesdays from 3:30 pm – until dark, 645 Coleman Blvd.; 843-884-8517
- North Charleston Farmers Market—open Thursdays from 12pm – 7 pm, Park Circle; 843-745-1028
- Freshfields Village Farmers Market—open Mondays from 4pm – 8 pm, Freshfields Village, 149 Village Green Lane; 843-768-6491