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by Robin Devereaux-Nelson

We have a cottage in Harrison, and had occasion to visit the Pine View Country Store, an Amish enterprise located in Clare County. Pine View is situated right on the premises of an Amish family farm and sells fresh and bulk foods, as well as working the land, raising animals, and creating furniture and hand-sewn goods. I was fortunate to arrive just in time to purchase a peck of peaches. These freestone peaches were perfect: juicy, sweet and tart, with rosy skin- the smell was intoxicating. We had a fabulous breakfast of sliced peaches with a hint of sugar on top, whole grain bread baked at the Glen’s Market Bakery, and home smoked bacon from Steve’s Meat Market in Harrison. Yum!

Once home, I baked a peach custard pie (also delicious), but that only took five peaches. What to do with the remaining peaches?

My husband suggested peach butter, which he had not had since he was a child in Minnesota. I didn’t have a recipe, and frankly hadn’t even heard of peach butter. However, I have made apple, pear and pumpkin butters, and figured I would give it a whirl.

This was a very simple process, requiring little equipment and only three ingredients. I started with 20-25 freestone peaches, which I washed, quartered and removed the pits. Then I pureed the peaches, skin and all, on the HIGH setting of the food processor, creating a thick sauce. The sauce then went on the stove to cook on medium-low for about 1 ½ hours, stirring frequently. I then turned up the heat slightly and added 2 cups of sugar and 1 package of Certo fruit pectin. This mixture cooked for another 15 to 20 minutes, stirring constantly. I then divided the peach butter into plastic tubs and allowed it to cool before placing it in the freezer.

Well, all of it went into the freezer with the exception of the large jar of peach butter I left in our refrigerator for us to enjoy. This stuff is wonderful on toast, English muffins, and shortbread. For an up-scaled version of the PB&J, try whole wheat toast spread with almond butter and topped with this fab peach confection. Delish and good for you.

I was thinking that the peach butter would also be a great condiment for meats, and one thought leading to another, came up with another yummy summer recipe: Cilantro-Fruit Chicken.

Your ingredients are:
    4 chicken skin-on chicken breasts, cut in half or   
    1 frying chicken, cut into pieces
    ½ cup peach butter, or 
    2 jars peach baby food + 2 tablespoons sugar, or   
    3 pureed peaches + 2 tablespoons sugar
    Juice from 1 can sliced pineapple (reserve the fruit)     
    1 bunch fresh cilantro, washed and finely chopped  
    2 tablespoons Kikkoman (or other brewed) soy sauce 
    ½ teaspoon white pepper

Place the peach butter or puree, cilantro, pineapple juice, soy sauce and pepper in a large Ziplock bag. Zip the bag and moosh everything together with your hands to mix it up. Place the chicken in the bag and shake to coat. Place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, turning every 30 minutes to marinate. This step can be done 24 hours ahead, turning the chicken every few hours. Remove the chicken from the bag and grill, using a basting brush to coat the chicken with the sauce as it cooks. Sprinkle the remaining pineapple with soy sauce and grill it as well to serve as a side.

This dish is great served with sesame rice and peach-apple salad. To make the rice, simply prepare jasmine rice according to package directions. While the rice is cooking, toast a handful of sesame seeds in the oven at 400 degrees, turning until they are browned. When the rice is tender, add 1 tablespoon of sugar, the toasted sesame seeds and 2 – 3 tablespoons of toasted sesame oil. Stir well to coat the rice. Serve warm.

For the peach-apple salad, plate torn red lettuce topped with gala or granny smith apple slices, chopped scallions, and slivered almonds. Top with Dev’s Peach Dressing.


In a blender or food processor mix:
    3 tablespoons peach butter or peach puree
    3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 
    ¼ cup white vinegar     
    salt and white pepper to taste   
    ½ cup honey     
    1 cup canola oil

Blend on high until thick and creamy. Drizzle on salad or use as a dip for vegetables and fruit.

© Robin Devereaux-Nelson, 2010