There is something about Colorado peaches that makes them special. They’ve been described by some aficionados as the closest thing to heaven. I would have to agree.
My first taste of Colorado peaches came about 30 years ago. I was visiting my brother, Kevin, and his wife, Lynn, who live in Grand Junction, Colo., which is in the heart of peach country. The peaches they shared with me were delightful.
But that’s not a surprise, since right next door to Grand Junction is Palisade, home of world famous peaches. In fact, each summer Palisade celebrates the Palisade Peach Festival, one of the original agricultural festivals in Colorado. It’s described as peach mania by organizers — plenty of great food, entertainment, contests, activities for kids and opportunities to explore Palisade via self-guided tours, guided tours and outdoor recreation.
And that’s not to mention local and authentic delicious peach products, from pies to ice cream, preserves to salsa, peach brandy and wine to virgin peach daiquiris, as well as bushels of just-picked fresh peaches. (The 44th Annual Palisade Peach Festival is coming up Aug. 16 through 19.)
Over the years, I’ve had other opportunities to sample Colorado peaches. I’ve bought lugs of peaches from the Grand Forks Youth for Christ fundraiser the past couple of years (go to www.gfyfc.org/peaches/ for more information on the current project), and most recently, my mom shared some Colorado peaches that Kevin sent home.
Peaches are a great source of nutrition. They are low in calories (100 grams is just 39 calories) and contain no saturated fats. Fresh peaches also are a very good source of antioxidant vitamin C, a moderate source of vitamin A and beta carotene as well as being rich in many vital minerals such as potassium, fluoride and iron.
Therese made use of some of our Colorado peaches in a delicious upside-down cobbler. The recipe, which follows, came from autobiography of the late Colonel Harlan Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame. (The chain recently put the book, including 30 recipes, online for free at www.facebook.com/KFC.
Upside-Down Peach Cobbler
1 cup sugar, divided
1/3 cup butter, melted
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1½ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup milk
6 to 8 fresh peaches, peeled, seeded and sliced
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Beat 2/3 cup of sugar, eggs together until creamy. Add butter, continue beating until blended. Add vanilla extract. Combine flour, baking powder, salt in medium mixing bowl, add to sugar-egg mixture alternately with milk. Line angel food pan with parchment paper. Fill 2/3 full with peaches. Sprinkle 1/3 cup sugar over peaches. Pour batter over peaches, spread it evenly until they are well-covered. Bake 55 to 65 minutes. Cool slightly for 10 minutes, then put on large plate. Serve warm.
Yield: Serves 8.
Note: Therese recommends using a Bundt pan instead of cake pan.