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Cooking with Crevolyn: Perfect time to taste some Georgia peaches

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crevolyn.wiley@jandjfoods.com

It’s that time again; time for fresh peaches to be picked from trees all across the South.

I look forward to summer in Georgia and the arrival of the best fresh fruit. Of course, since Georgia is the Peach State, after all, we have a lot of rich peach history.

So, here’s a little peach trivia for you. Berckmans’ Nursery, also known as Fruitland Nurseries, was the first large-scale horticultural nursery in the Southeast. Fruitland was founded in Augusta in 1858 by Louis Berckmans and his son, Prosper. Louis and Prosper quickly gained notoriety for growing new fruit varieties suitable for the Southern climate. Prosper was responsible for developing several peach varieties and is known as of the “Father of the Peach Culture.”

However, peaches weren’t the Berckmans’ only love. They brought many varieties of fruits and ornamental plants to the South, including azaleas and camellias.

Today, the Fruitland Nursery property is still standing, strong and proud. The property is now the home of the Augusta National Golf Club. The Berckmans’ home, Fruitland Manor became the Augusta National Clubhouse.

Since the property was once home to the nursery, all of the holes at Augusta National are named after a tree or shrub. Now you know the rest of the story.

Georgia peaches are naturally sweet and tasty. When buying, look for a creamy gold to yellow under-color. The red or blush color is an indication of variety rather than ripeness.

The crease should be well-defined and run from the stem to the point.

When perfect for eating, the peach should smell “peachy” and be soft to the touch but not mushy.

Peaches are a great healthy snack with relatively no fat. They are rich in Vitamin A, C and potassium, as well as antioxidants and fiber.

These naturally sweet treats are great additions to all kinds of recipes, including salads, muffins, cobblers, tarts, pies and even main dishes, such as pork. But this recipe for Georgia peach cobbler bread — well it’s delicious.

Enjoy your summer with Georgia peaches!

Georgia peach cobbler bread

  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 cups peeled, sliced peaches
  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Ingredients for topping:

  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in oil and extracts. Stir in peaches.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder. Then gradually add it to the creamed mixture.

Stir in pecans.

Pour into a greased 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan.

Combine 1/4 cup pecans and brown sugar for topping; sprinkle over batter.

Bake for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.

Crevolyn Wiley is a Gainesville resident with her first published cookbook “Cooking with Crevolyn” available at J&J Foods. She can be contacted at crevolyn.wiley@jandjfoods.com.

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