Palisade, Colorado. Home of the best peaches in North America. Sorry Georgia, you're going to have to sit this one out. The unique microclimate on the Western Slope of Colorado with its hot days and cool nights allows for the symphonious development of sugar, acidity, and texture - which yields an oversized beautiful stone fruit that packs a huge punch, and also brings a ton of chin dripping juices to the party!
Aside from just being delicious, peaches are very good for the body. They are packed to the pit with vitamins and even contain some compounds to help fight obesity!
Need more convincing? Peaches that are shipped in from other states or countries are picked while they are still green. Know what that means? It means that your fruit is picked and then taken to a warehouse somewhere and then surrounded by gas to help them ripen and stabilize them for distribution. Doesn't sound yummy to me. What to look for: If a peach is green around the stem, then it was picked while it was still green. If the peach has a yellow or red hue around the stem, it was picked ripe. All palisade peaches are picked ripe!
As far as cooking with peaches goes, use peaches that are more firm for applications like grilling. They will hold up better to the cooking process. Peaches that are very soft are great for eating just like they are - or perhaps mixed in with some granola. Maybe If i'm nice I'll throw in a recipe for that too! The harvest season for Palisade peaches is from late June - early October (at the latest) - so hurry and get "fuzzy" before you have to wait until next year!
Chilled Peach Soup with Stone Fruit Salsa
Stone Fruit - any fruit with a stone or pit or pyrene inside (peach, plum, apricot, cherry, etc) - but not Avocados - they are berries, believe it or not.
2 # peeled fresh Palisade peaches, cut into 1 “ chunks (2# peaches total when finished – not 2# and then cut down)
1 cucumber, seeded and peeled and cut down into 1” chunks
2 roasted yellow peppers, char and insides removed
1 c. (not packed extremely hard) dried apricots
1/4 c. +1 T. rice wine vinegar
1 T. Chinese black vinegar
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 tsp. coriander
2 T. honey
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
For the Stone Fruit Salsa:
• 2 T. lemon juice
• ½ C. water
• 2 T. maple syrup
• 2 T. brown sugar
• 1 tsp. fresh grated ginger
• 1 tsp. cinnamon
• 1 cardamom pod
• 3 stone fruits, assorted, finely diced
• 1 tsp. chopped mint
• ½ serrano pepper, optional, thinly sliced
Combine all ingredients together and toss well in a bowl; cover and let sit in the refrigerator overnight. After the ingredients have marinated overnight, puree them in a blender until smooth. Strain and check for seasoning. Serve Chilled.
For the Stone Fruit Salsa
1. In a saucepan, combine the lemon juice, water, maple syrup, brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon, and cardamom. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer and reduce until thick and syrupy. Remove from heat and let come down to room temperature.
2. Meanwhile, while the syrup is reducing, pit and small dice the stone fruit and place in a bowl. Toss with the chopped mint. When the syrup is reduced and at room temperature, toss into the finely diced stone fruits and add the serrano (if using), let sit at least 30 minutes before serving.
Easy Peach Chiffon Pie
• 8 oz. biscoff cookies, ground to crumbs
• ½ C. butter
• ½ C. sugar
• 1 tsp. salt
• 3.5 gelatin sheets, bloomed
• ½ C. sugar
• ½ tsp. salt
• 3 C. palisade peaches, small dice
• 2 T. ice cold water
• 1 C. heavy cream
1. Prepare the pie shell: Combine the cookies, butter, sugar, and salt in a bowl and crumb together well.
2. Spread the crumb evenly throughout the bottom of a 9 inch pie shell. Bake the shell in a 350 degree oven for 8 minutes. Remove and let cool.
3. Meanwhile, bloom the gelatin in ice water for 10 mintues.
4. In a bowl, combine the peaches with the sugar and salt. Transfer the mixture to a pan over medium heat – remove the gelatin from the water, squeeze out all liquid and add to the peaches in the pan. Cook gently until the gelatin dissolves. Remove the peach mixture from the pan, add the cold water and set aside to cool slightly.
5. In a stand mixer, whip the cream to heavy peaks. When the peach mixture is cooled enough to not deflate the cream, gently fold the peach mixture into the cream. Do not deflate the cream.
6. When all is combined well, transfer the mixture to the prepared pie shell and refrigerate for 3-4 hours until set.
My Favorite Granola
I know this seems like a lot, but it goes quick!
1C. coconut sugar
1 T. vanilla
1.5 tsp. salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 C. honey
1/2 C. molasses
1.5 C. water
3/4 C. coconut oil
10 C. old fashioned rolled oatmeal
2 C. golden raisins
1/2 C. wheat germ
1/2 C. flax seed
7 oz. coconut flakes, unsweetened
1 C. black sesame seeds
1.5 c. sliced almonds
3/4 C. hemp seeds
3/4 C. chia seeds
Fresh Very Ripe Palisade Peaches, sliced or diced
In a sauce pan, combine the coconut sugar, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, honey, molasses, water, and coconut oil. Heat over medium heat - but do not let the mixture boil! Heat until the sugars dissolve.
Meanwhile, In a very large bowl, mix together the oatmeal, golden raisins, wheat germ, flax seed, coconut, black sesame seeds, almonds, hemp seeds, and chia seeds. When the liquid mixture is ready, add it to the dry ingredients and toss well to coat.
Transfer the mixture to a very large disposable turkey roasting pan, and bake on 300 degrees until dry, stirring the mixture every 15 minutes to ensure an even dry out. This takes usually between 1.5 - 2 hours. When the granola has completely dried out, remove from the oven and let cool completely. Store the granola in an airtight container.
Toss fresh palisade peaches in with your granola for a very sustaining, delightful cereal! It's delicious anytime of the day!