Peaches for the picking

U-pick peaches!

We are so lucky to live in the State of Michigan, notPeach just for the wonderful people, beautiful forests and Great Lakes, but for the “fruit belts” that border the shores of our grand bodies of water. Because of the lakes’ climate, we can grow and have access to many different varieties of fruit, among them peaches.

In my opinion, Michigan peaches can’t be beat, and I encourage you to get to your nearest farm market and/or orchard to purchase or pick some of these delicious state products! Michigan is third in the nation for peach production, so you shouldn’t have far to go. If you can’t get to a farm market, Michigan State University Extension encourages you to look for locally grown produce in your local grocery store – it tastes so fresh and it is picked ripe. It does not have to travel cross country, ripening in the truck, to get to the store. I am amazed how far away some of our produce has to come!

What you do with the Michigan peaches once getting them home is up to you – they are great baked into pies, tarts, crisps, cobblers and other desserts. Of course they are also wonderful eaten raw – just wash in running water and enjoy (and have a towel ready for the juice). Have you made homemade peach ice-cream or sorbet? There are many recipes to be found. You can process peaches into chutney, jams, preserves and jellies. Many people keep them all year by canning or freezing. Home processed peaches can be such a treat in the middle of winter. MSU Extension has experts to guide you through the preservation process with the most up-to-date information. Contact your local office for information on preserving peaches or any other fruit or vegetable.

Awhile back, while I was in Tennessee, I was given a recipe for Peach Punch that I’d like to share.

Peach Punch at the Mansion

This recipe is from the Trahern Mansion in Clarksville, Tennessee and is used with their permission. This recipe makes 33, six ounce servings.

Ingredients

2 quarts cranberry peach 100% juice

2 liters peach soda

1 liters ginger ale

1 quart frozen peaches

Directions: Chill the liquids and pour over the peaches in your punch bowl. Enjoy!

You can also put a bit of peach into your ice-cube trays before adding water or more juice and freezing. You can add those to your punch bowl for even more peach flavor.

The peach is a very versatile fruit. I hope you choose to take advantage of the Michigan peach and try different ways to enjoy it. Remember, when you buy local produce, you are getting the freshest product possible while also helping the local economy.