There’s nothing like a piece of homemade peach pie in the middle of February to brighten the spirits. Yes, it’s true! — Especially if it’s made with farm fresh Jersey peaches and a homemade crust. But how you might ask did I possibly make a peach pie in the dead of winter? There are no peaches in the grocery stores, or at least any local or sweet ones, so you may be wondering how I pulled this one off.
Well, I’ll give you my little secret. Back in July, I had a surplus of peaches from my CSA. I decided to make a few batches of peach pie filling with a friend who also had too many. This week, when I stumbled upon my very last container hiding snugly beneath a bag of edamame beans in the freezer, I decided that there’s no better time than now! My 13-year old pie-loving son was more than thrilled when I greeted him with a fresh-out-of-the oven slice of pie. If you can imagine, he asked if it was made with canned peaches! I think I even impressed him.
If you’re wondering why you didn’t think to do the same over the summer with your excess fruit, don’t! There’s always next summer. Food freezes exceptionally well — just look at the enormous frozen food departments in grocery store across America. Farm fresh foods are no exception, which brings me to my next point. Cooking with friends to preserve the harvest reaps long term benefits. We may not be shopping at farmer’s markets or snipping herbs from our garden in February, but at least we’re enjoying the delightfully fresh flavors from seasons past.
As my frozen supply of farm fresh tomato sauce, pesto, corn stocks and pie fillings dwindles, I am encouraged. The ground hog may not have seen his shadow, but I’ve got my sign that spring is near. With every bite I savor from seasons past I am inspired by what’s soon to come and the foods I will surely preserve next time.
PS – See the beautiful leaves cut out on my pie? Those were made using the William Sonoma Autumn Leaves piecrust cutters, a holiday gift from my good friend Jackie. I was so excited to use them!!
Simple Peach Pie Filling
10 fresh sweet yellow peaches, skins removed and cut into thick slices
1/2 cup white sugar
1 -2 tablespoons corn starch
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon juice
dash of nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Combine all of the ingredients in a medium sized pot and heat slowly, stirring until the mixture becomes thick. Cool and transfer the mixture to a freezer safe container until ready to fill a pie.