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August is a peachy month

Ontario peaches are at their best during the month of August.  The best tasting fruit is relatively firm, with a smooth skin, sweet aroma and clear peach background colour.

Ontario peaches are at their best during the month of August.  The best tasting fruit is relatively firm, with a smooth skin, sweet aroma and clear peach background colour.

Harder peaches should be kept a room temperature, out of direct sun, until ripening begins and the skin yields to gentle pressure.

Ripe peaches should be kept refrigerated in a single layer for no longer than five days. Overripe (extremely soft) peaches should be used, fresh or in cooking, at once. One medium-size peach contains 37 calories and is a source of Vitamin C.

Archaeologists have found bowls of peaches, revered as a potent symbol of immortality, entombed with Chinese dignitaries several centuries before Christ.

The peach is likely native to that part of China near the Pakistani border where it still grows wild. The Latin name for peach means "Persian plum" because the Romans imported it from Persia (now Iran) some 2,000 years ago.

In the New World, peaches date back to the 1500's, brought first to Latin America by early Spanish colonists. Peach trees flourished in temperate parts of Canada almost from the time of the first European settlement.

Blueberry Peach upside-down cake

It's no surprise that upside-down cakes have been so popular for so long. Fresh fruit combined with a moist butter cake means a simple dessert that can't be beat. Also great for using slightly under-ripe peaches. Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or ice cream.
Preparation Time: 25 minutes
Cooking Time: 55 minutes
Standing Time: 15 minutes
Serves 8 to 10

1/4 cup (50 mL) butter, melted
1/2 cup (125 mL) lightly packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp (2 mL) each cinnamon and ground ginger
2 Ontario peaches, peeled, pitted and cut into 1/2 inch (1 cm) wedges
1/2 cup (125 mL) Ontario blueberries

1 1/2 cups (375 mL) all-purpose flour
2 tsp (10 mL) baking powder
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
1/2 cup (125 mL) butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup (150 mL) granulated sugar
Finely grated rind of one lemon
2 eggs
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla
1/2 cup (125 mL) milk
Butter 9 1/2 in. (2.5 L) springform pan. Wrap outside of pan with foil to prevent any butter from leaking through.

In small bowl, stir together butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and ginger; spread over base of pan. Top with circles of peach wedges, leaving a little space between peaches. Sprinkle blueberries between peach slices.

In small bowl, stir together flour, baking powder and salt until well combined. In large bowl and using electric mixer, beat butter with sugar and lemon rind until light and creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in vanilla. Gradually beat in flour mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour, until well blended. Spoon batter over fruit, spreading to edges.
Bake in centre of 350°F (180°C) oven 55 to 60 minutes or until cake tester inserted in centre comes out clean. Cool on rack 15 minutes. Run knife around edge of cake, then carefully invert onto platter. If any fruit has stuck to pan, place on cake. Spoon any juices on platter back onto cake.

Frozen peach mousse
with blueberry swirl
A lightened version of a frozen mousse, this beautiful make-ahead company dessert celebrates Ontario Peaches and their happy companions, Ontario Blueberries.

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 6 minutes
Freezing Time: 8 hours
Serves 10 to 12

2 cups (500 mL) low-fat yogurt
2 cups (500 mL) Ontario blueberries
1 cup (250 mL) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (50 mL) amaretto liqueur
or peach schnapps
1-1/2 tsp (7 mL) cornstarch
4 Ontario peaches
2 tsp (10 mL) fresh lemon juice
1 cup (250 mL) whipping cream, whipped

Place yogurt in cheesecloth-lined sieve set over bowl; set aside.

Purée blueberries and simmer with 1/4 cup (50 mL) of the sugar for five minutes. Stir in amaretto. Stir cornstarch with 1 tbsp (15 mL) cold water; stir into blueberries. Boil, stirring, for one minute; let cool to room temperature.

Peel and purée peaches with lemon juice and remaining sugar; transfer to large bowl. Fold in whipped cream and drained yogurt; pour into 8-inch (2 L) springform pan. Spoon blueberry mixture decoratively over mousse; draw knife through mousse and blueberries to form swirls. Cover and freeze at least 8 hours and up to 3 days. If frozen more than 8 hours, remove to refrigerator 30 minutes before serving in wedges.

Information and recipes courtesy of Foodland Ontario. Visit for more delicious recipes and facts about seasonal fruits and vegetables.


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