The season is short.
Maybe that's one of the reasons peaches are so magical to me.
For of all the wonderful fruits in the world, peaches are my favorite.
Tender, sweet, velvety to the touch, and so juicy they must be slurped down standing over the kitchen sink (unless you like sticky juice running down your chin and over the front of your shirt), peaches are definitely not a polite eat.
But they must be organic. Stone-fruits get their sweetness from their connection to the fruit tree, unlike some fruits that get sweet and ripen once picked (bananas, apples, pears). Peaches, plums, nectarines, and apricots can't be picked too early or they remain hard and mealy. Which is why the ones you find in grocery stores give all others a bad rap -- they've been harvested while still hard and shipped from away, in a vain attempt to keep them from bruising.
True peaches are soft, easily bruisable, and you can't wait too long to eat them. They explode in your mouth in an OMG moment. That's why you need to savor the sweetness of a peach from a roadside stand, Farmer's Market, or U-pick-it farm.
A simple rule to remember about organics: if it's sweet, you'd better go with organic, because their skin is likely to be thin, and they are susceptible to pesticides most commercial farms use. Pests like sweet things as much as we do. (Berries, bell peppers, grapes, etc.)
Agri-scientests keep fiddling with peaches, trying to make them less fragile. They have made them look like the 'real' thing but they're often a mealy mess. Fit for only 'coons (and as you know, I'm not feeding them anymore).
The brief window of opportunity for eating peaches in AR is about 6 weeks, and it's the highlight of my summertime eating. It's hard not to gobble them down as is, but about twice during the summer I slow down enough to make peach crumb pie, an Excy favorite. I think we like it because it's so similar to a cobbler. So here's the recipe. I warn you I use real sugar. It may be too sweet for those of you who don't -- but it's a doozy of a treat.
PEACH CRUMB PIE
1 c. sugar
2 1/2 Tb. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. water
4 c. sliced peaches
1 Tb. lemon juice
crumbs for topping (see below)
pastry shell, uncooked (if not making your own Pillsbury is good)
--In saucepan combine sugar, cornstarch and salt. Add water and peaches and bring to a boil. Boil 1 minute. Add lemon juice and cool. Meanwhile make the crumbs. Put peach mixture into pastry shell. Cover with crumbs. Bake 10 minutes at 450 degrees and then 20 more at 375 degrees.
3/4 c. flour
1/2 c. sugar
1/3 c. butter
Using your fingers, mix together the flour, butter and sugar until they are like fine crumbs. Spread evenly over fruit filling in the unbaked pastry shell -- recipe makes enough for one 9-inch pie.