Recipes from Kaylin's Kitchen - Peaches, Apples, and Pears, OH MY!

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August, September, and October brings a wealth of Peaches, Apples, and Pears to Missouri.  From growing them in our own yards to heading to commercial farms to pick-your-own, there is a plethora of fruit to be found. 

Of the fall fruits featured, peaches ripen first.  Their cooking, canning, preserving, and fresh quality is unmatched by other fruits.  The 2007 Missouri Census of Agriculture reports that Missouri has 352 peach farms which include 2,314 acres.  Franklin County is home to 10 farms with a total of 6 acres of peaches.  Cape Girardeau holds the most of the Missouri counties at 155 acres.

Peach Smoothie
Serves: 2
2-8 oz. containers peach yogurt
1 cup peach slices, partially frozen
4-6 ice cubes

Place all ingredients into smoothie maker or blender.  Puree until smooth.  Serve immediately.

As the product of American schools, most of us are familiar with the legend of Johnny Appleseed.  Ol’ Johnny travelled throughout the countryside in early America, planting apple seeds.  While this story has most likely been embellished over time, the original tale is true.  John Chapman was a well-educated young man when he became a nurseryman at age 25.  Travelling first throughout New York and Pennsylvania, then to the Northwest Territory which included Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois, John spread the gospel and apple seeds.  Most people paid Mr. Chapman for the seeds, although for those who could not afford it he traded for a warm place to sleep or a meal.  On September 26, we can celebrate Johnny’s 237th birthday.

Apple Crisp
(Recipe from the late Madaline Gerdes)
Serves: 6
4 cups sliced apples
¾ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup quick cooking oats
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 tsp. ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375° and grease an 8x8x2 inch pan.  Spread apples evenly in bottom of baking pan.  Mix remaining ingredients in a small bowl and sprinkle over apples.  Bake 30 minutes or until apples are tender.  Recipe may be doubled for a 9x13 inch pan.

Pear trees are easily grown in our area of Missouri, other than the risk of fire blight which can also harm apple trees.  Pears can be picked while unripe, as long as the seeds have turned brown, and kept in a cool dark place until needed to ripen.  Depending on the type of pear tree, picking season can begin as early as the beginning of August and continues through November.  According to the University of Missouri Extension, the pear with the least amount of work and best results is the Honeysweet.  This breed is resistant to fire blight and produces “a yellow fruit with a flavor similar to Seckel, but is larger in size.”  This variety matures in late August and should be cross-pollinated with Starking Delicious for best results.  Like most fruit trees, they should be planted in the spring.

Caramel Spice Pear Butter
Makes: 9-half pints
7 lbs. ripe pears
2 cups water
6 cups sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
Glass canning jars with two piece lids

Wash, peel, and core pears.  Slice and place into a large pot.  Add water, cover, and cook over medium heat until pears are tender.  Cool pears slightly and pulse in food processor until resembles applesauce – take care not to over process.  Return to large pot.  In a non-stick frying pan, melt 1 ½ cups of the sugar over medium heat, stirring frequently until it caramelizes.  Pour immediately into pear pulp.  (Caramel will harden after hitting pulp but will melt again as mixture cooks.)  Add in remaining 4 ½ cups sugar and spices.  Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat and cook uncovered until mixture is thickened.  Stir mixture frequently to avoid sticking.  Ladle into hot, sterilized jars leaving ¼” headspace.  Seal and process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. 

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