By far my favorite fruit is the succulent and oh-so-juicy Georgia Peach. And it has nothing to do with the fact that I live in Georgia! I have always loved peaches as a kid. They smell really good and taste really sweet.
And now the time is right and ripe to get a load of Georgia peaches. They’re only available from about mid-May to August of each year.
I had the pleasure of receiving a big box of Pearson peaches this summer. Pearson is one of the prominent Georgia peach producers and members of the Georgia Peach Commission along with Dickey Farms, Lane Packing and Taylor Orchards.
Ever since I moved to the Peach State in 2006, I have been on the lookout for delicious peach pies and cobblers and peach cakes that would take my love for peaches to the next level. I found some but learned to create my own special peach recipes. And my kids LOVE peaches. And it’s good to know that a medium-size Georgia peach contains only 38 calories, fewer than comparable-sized apples or pears. That’s why they’re my first pick when giving them a nutritious summertime snack.
I have also found out that the peach is actually a member of the rose family, which explains its wonderfully fragrant smell.
Here are some other FACTS About Peaches:
- You should never squeeze peaches; they bruise easily.
- When buying Georgia peaches look for a creamy gold to yellow under-color. The red or “blush” is an indication of variety rather than ripeness. The crease should be well defined and run from the stem end of the peach to the point.
- A peach should smell “peachy.” A peach should be soft to the touch.
- Georgia produces more than 40 commercial varieties of peaches, which are divided into general categories – freestone, semi-free and clingstone.
- And…the peach became the official Georgia state fruit in 1995
The Georgia Peach Comission is also partnering with cookbook author, founder of Fire and Flavor, and Peach County native, Gena Knox. She also wrote the cookbook, Southern My Way: Simple Recipes, Fresh Flavors with some wonderfully delicious-looking Southern meals.
I LOVE trying new means but usually just pick up meal cards from my local Publix supermarket. So Gena’s book will be a mainstay in my kitchen. Gena’s book focuses on fresh, easy to follow recipes with buoyant flavors and beautiful photos. It’s a cookbook and a her personal testiment
growing up as a Southern belle in a small town in middle Georgia.
Some of the flavors like her Tarragon Chicken salad are a bit different for me, a city girl. But they look delicious enough for me to broaden my flavor palate and try some featured dishes like the Spaghetti Squash with Rosemary and Parmesan (pg. 164) and even the Shrimp and Artichoke Bake (pg. 125).
Over the weekend, I decided to dabble a little bit in Gena’s cookbook and decided to use these luscious peaches I received from Pearson’s Farm to bake Gena’s Cornmeal Peach Cake.
Below I have a picture story about the Peach Cake I made over the weekend, which was delicious and a tasty holiday treat. try it for yourself and don’t forget to load up on some sweet Georgia Peaches!
PREP TIME 25 minutes
COOK TIME 55 minutes
YIELDS 12 servings
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup canola or vegetable oil
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
3 fresh peaches, peeled and sliced (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
FIRST Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 10-cup bundt pan. In a medium bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt; set aside.
NEXT Using an electric mixer with a paddle attachment or a hand mixer, beat eggs and sugar and oil until smooth. Slowly beat in orange juice. One cup at a time, add flour mixture until incorporated. Stir in vanilla. In a medium bowl, toss peaches, sugar and cinnamon.
LAST Pour half of batter into bundt pan, top with peaches and finish with remaining batter. Bake for 55 minutes. Let cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove from pan, place on wire rack and let cool completely.
Gena’s Note: For a super-moist cake, you can add an additional cup of peaches and bake a few minutes longer. The cake may not have a neat uniform shape, but Gena says she LOVES the gooey center.