Valley Bounty: Juicy Fruits
Peaches, plums, and melons are hard to eat without getting sticky, but no matter—whether you wash off demurely with a washcloth, dump a bucket of water over your head, or go swimming, you’ll be glad for the sweet taste in your mouth and the cooldown that followed. Although I’m a lover of peach tarts and plum jam, in this weather I recommend skipping the cooking. Cut up your fruit. Toss it with chopped basil and a little balsamic vinegar, or with fresh mint and lemon juice. Eat up, and enjoy.
Hot Weather Preserving tips:
I love canned peaches, but I really try to find a day for canning that is not blazingly hot. In hot weather, I’d rather dry fruit, with my dehydrator strategically placed on the porch to avoid heating up the house. To dry peaches, I wash them, slice, and put on non-stick sheets on the dehydrator trays. Flip them partway through for even drying.
I also make peach leather, or peach-plum leather. Since peaches are so juicy, I usually wash and pit them, then heat briefly, just until they release their juice. Pour that off, chill it, and drink it. Use an immersion blender or food processor to blend the peaches (add plums if you have them), then pour onto non-stick sheets on the dehydrator trays.
I also freeze some peaches for smoothies or baking. I like to quarter them, then spread on cookie sheets, and bag after they are frozen so I can remove a little bit at a time from the freezer.