Sunday, June 10, 2012

Fruit picking in Fredericksburg

This has been a busy couple of weeks for Thomas and I.  I just started summer classes, so spent tonight catching up with cigar reviews and site reviews. Sorry for the long delay in posting, I hope these few make up for it. 

This weekend Thomas and I went fruit picking with Goggles and her friend.  We spent the day in Fredericksburg, picking blackberries and peaches at Marburger Orchard.  Since it was the end of blackberry season for them, it was first come, first serve.  We lucked out and though we didn't get there right as they opened, they still had blackberries available.  Yum. It was around 3.25/lb for blackberries, with a 75¢ charge for the special box. We had a great time, and mostly avoided the thorns and got a nice pile of blackberries. 

Then it was time for peach picking. They had a few varieties, but the Harvester peaches were in the peak time for picking, so that was what we chose.  It was 35.00 for a 1/2 bushel of peaches (about 25 lbs). We had to walk a bit to get where the freshest trees were, but it was a nice day, and the orchard was pretty.

Unfortunately, the box got roughly handled up at the register, which upset us a bit. Note - this place ONLY takes cash or check, no credit cards.  It was a fun time, but I was frustrated with how many peaches ended up bruised by them shoving the boxes together.  Rather than having a couple days to decide what to do with them, I ended up having to process ALL of the peaches Saturday night, so that they wouldn't spoil.  More on that later. 

After our morning's labors in the fields, we decided a picnic lunch was in order.  We went to the park in the middle of Fredericksburg, which is really nice, and has a large, shaded picnic area.  I made sandwiches while the girls snacked on fresh peaches.  While the girls went to explore the gardens, we sat and had a cigar.  We decided to try the Joya de Nicaragua Antaño el Martillo with Dark Corojo wrapper which we picked up at the Drew Estate/Joya de Nicaragua event at Finck's.  The cigar Review is in the next post.

After the picnic and cigars we went home.  Goggles' friend needed to go home, and on the way back they brought some vanilla ice cream.

We had a hard time figuring out what to do with nearly 25 lbs of ripe peaches.  The bruising and cuts due to  mishandling at the register meant I had to process them ALL that night. 

I sliced and froze 5 quart sized bags of peaches and 2 of blackberries with the thought of using them in tea and in mead and cordial recipes.  YUM. 

In the end, an internet search turned up a few possibilities, and after examining them, we selected 3 recipes to create, then of course, made them our own with additions and substitutions until they were our recipes (I hate following recipes exactly.)

We made a syrup with the fruit by mixing honey, lemon juice and water together and baking the fruit in it - one pan of peach, the other of blackberry.  This went very well over ice cream. I like it because it is a fruit topping that has no refined sugar or high fructose corn syrup and was super simple to make. 

Then we worked together to make a peach-carrot bread and a peach tea bread.  Two loaves of each, made with yogurt instead of oil, they came out moist and flavorful. 

Still when we were done, there were a lot of the most over ripe peach slices left, and they were going to definitely spoil by morning...what to do...what to do! Ah! I know! Booze-a-mahol to the rescue! The remaining slices were chopped up and added to mason jars with about 1/4 cup of honey, 1 finger of bourbon and then filled the rest of the way with vodka - instant experimental batch of cordial. 

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