There are few joys in life that are greater than the first peach of the season. A wave of childlike giddiness rushed over me as Michael and I pulled into the Franklin Farmer’s Market on a steamy Saturday morning. The Peach Truck sign caught my attention, and I immediately turned the wheel of the car in its direction (did I mention I was riding shotgun? My hand should have been slapped, but I believe Michael was amused at me bouncing out of my seat in excitement, and all was forgiven.) Ten peach enthusiasts were in line in front of me, all beading at the brow, but no one seemed to mind as long as we could take home a brown paper sack filled with fresh peaches.
Patient waiting paid off as a young lady handed me a brown paper bag stamped with a tiny farmer’s truck and The Peach Truck logo. She let me know I should keep the peaches in the paper bag on the counter until Monday and let them sit in the fridge to ripen the fruit. Politely, I nodded knowing full well the moment I was out of her line of sight one was going directly into my mouth. Michael dealt with the “business” side of things and handed the sweet lady cash for my treasures. By the time he turned around, I was nose deep in the bag, inhaling the honey and flowery aromas coming from the peaches.
Immediately my mind began racing with endless possibilities: peach tart, peach pie, roasted peaches, muddled peach lemonade, grilled peaches with brown sugar. On and on the list went, and finally, the perfect preservation of the peaches pervaded. Vanilla poached peaches. Poaching peaches slightly softens the fruit and allows for the skin to easily be peel away, exposing the blushing flesh. It’s the next best thing to eating a peach right off The Peach Truck. It’s the best dessert for the greatest summer fruit: the precious peach.
Recipe: Inspired by Seasons by Donna Hay
Note: Add leftover vanilla pods to sugar for vanilla sugar or save in a bottle of rum or vodka in the pantry for at least 6 weeks and you have your own homemade vanilla extract! Also, the sweet vanilla-peach infused syrup is wonderful in sweet tea.
2 pounds of ripe peaches, thoroughly washed
3 cups of water
2 cups of sugar
1 vanilla bean
Make a long slit through the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out all of the vanilla seeds. Reuse the leftover pod for vanilla sugar or homemade vanilla extract.
Slice a shallow “x” into the base of each peach. Set aside.
Place water, sugar and vanilla seeds in a medium-sized saucepan over low heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to high, bring to a boil and cook for 20 minutes. Add the peaches to the poaching liquid. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until the peaches are soft to the touch. Take the saucepan off the heat and let cool for 10 minutes. Peel the peaches, place in a sterilized Mason jar and pour the syrup over the poached peaches. Keep in the fridge until ready to use. Serve over ice cream, muddled in lemonade, or all by themselves!