The Lexington County Peach Festival is today, celebrating everything peachy.
That got me to thinking about the different types or varieties of peaches available in South Carolina.
Did you know that peaches originated in China, where theyve been cultivated for over 3,000 years? Or that the Spanish brought peaches to the New World in 1571? How about that the United States grows from 100-200 different cultivars of peaches and that there are more than 1,000 unique types of peaches in China?*
Thats A LOT of peaches!
So, while youre enjoying the peach ice cream (Blue Bell peach flavor with local fresh peaches added), homemade peach cobblers and samplings from the peach bar, consider trying one of these peach varieties that are grown here in South Carolina.
Heres a quick sampling from peach growers from around the state:.
Richard Perdue, of Perdeaux Farms near Tigerville: some of the varieties he grows include Washington, Cresthaven (high in sugar content, a bit firmer fruit, great flavor), Elberta (Perdue says theyre not pretty, but theyre what everyone wants for canning and freezing), Loring (good all-around) and some white sub-acids (high sugar content, deep red exterior, white peaches). He has over 20 different varieties.
Pam Cook, of Cooks Farm in Trenton, says customers like the Loring, Sunprince (for great taste), Jefferson and Big Red (a later ripening peach) varieties.
James Sease, of James R. Sease Farm in Lexington, grows Red Globe (although, he says, because of the early warm weather, those will be gone by now) and July Prince.
Kathy Taylor, of Wayne P. Taylor Family Farms in Leesville, says that theyre growing Red Globe, Loring and O. Henry varieties and have just planted some Elbertas that should be producing in about three years.
*Information from the Everything About Peaches site, run by Dr. Desmond Layne, Peach Specialist at Clemson University. www.clemson.edu/extension/peach
Award winning recipes
Winners of last years Lexington County Peach Recipe contest are, in Salads & Main Dishes: Denise Birt of Gilbert, first place, and Paige Lawhorn of Gilbert, second place; Desserts: Kayla Ellingson of Lexington, first place, and Stephanie Hallman of Gilbert, second place. Enjoy these award-winning recipes in your home.
Denise Birts Peach Salsa over Coconut Chicken and Peachy-Almond Rice
2 cups fresh peaches, finely chopped
1 cup fresh tomato, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, minced
1 tablespoon red onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon celery, finely chopped
1 tablespoon green onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
1 jar (4-ounce) peach baby food
1 can (4-ounce) chopped green chilies
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
Combine, cover and refrigerate 2-3 hours.
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1-1/2 cups shredded coconut
3/4 cup crispy rice cereal
1/4 cup flour
1 tablespoon seasoned salt (I use Tastefully Simple brand)
Slightly beat egg in a small bowl. Mix remaining dry ingredients in a large bowl. Dip chicken breasts in egg, then coat with coconut mixture, pressing to cover thoroughly. Heat oil in a large skillet, fry chicken breasts over medium-high heat until both sides are browned, reduce to medium, and continue to cook until done. Remove and drain on paper towels.
2 cups instant rice
1 (11.3-ounce) can peach nectar
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup fresh peaches, chopped
1 cup sliced almonds, toasted
In a medium saucepan, bring peach nectar, water, salt, sugar and oil to a boil. Remove from heat. Stir in rice, almonds and peaches. Cover. Let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with fork. Serve with coconut chicken and peach salsa.
Paige Lawhorns Peachy Paradise Salad
2 boneless & skinless chicken breasts
1/8 tsp. each salt, pepper, paprika, & garlic powder
1 bag mixed salad greens
1 cup peaches - peeled and diced
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup sunflower nuts
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
Summer Peach Vinaigrette
1 cup peaches - peeled & diced
1/2 cup oil
4 Tbsp. lemon juice
4 Tbsp. white rice vinegar
4 Tbsp. honey
Dash of fresh ground pepper
In small bowl, combine spices and sprinkle on chicken breast, set aside. Heat grill pan on medium heat, cook chicken 5-6 minutes on each side until cooked through. Set aside to cool and then slice. In large bowl, combine salad mix with chicken, peaches, cranberries, almonds, sunflower nuts and feta cheese. Toss. Dressing: Combine all ingredients in blender and puree until smooth. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss. Serves 3-4.
Kayla Ellingsons Peach Pudding
1 12 oz Cool Whip
1 can Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
2 packages peach Jell-o
4 cups fresh South Carolina peaches
1/2 box Nilla Wafers
Peel and slice peaches and set aside. Combine Cool Whip, Eagle Brand milk, and the powdered Jell-o together in a bowl and mix until smooth. Place 1/4 of your wafers in a bowl, then place 2 cups of peaches, and then add 1/2 of your peach mixture. Do this layering another time and save a few peach slices to put on top for decoration. Put in refrigerator and chill for 2 hours. Enjoy.
Stephanie Hallmans Mimis Peach Pie
2 Keebler shortbread pie crusts
8 oz. cream cheese
8 oz. Cool Whip
2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
3 Tbsp. peach Jell-o
1 cup water
2-3 cups sliced fresh peaches
Mix cream cheese, Cool Whip, and confectioners sugar together. Spoon half of mixture into each pie crust. Layer peaches evenly over cream cheese mixture.
In a small pot, mix together sugar, flour Jell-o and water. Heat to boiling for 2-3 minutes, until mixture becomes clear. Allow to cool for 3-5 minutes, then spoon over peaches covering evenly. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving.