Peaches peak in July. July is in the heart of summer, and the entire month is dedicated to Ice Cream. It only makes sense that National Peach Ice Cream Day be celebrated in the middle of July.
While we naturally think Georgia when it comes to peaches, the first orchards were planted in Delaware. And the leading producer of peaches is my home state, California. Just up the road from us is the quiet little Ag Town of Ripon, California. It’s considered one of the best places in the state to live, and is home to the valley’s Almond Blossom Festival in late February. The Almond Blossom Festival is about as small town county fair as you can get with carnival rides and home-made goods of every kind for sale. The only things missing are livestock and tractor pulls. Even so, you can bet on election years, those running for Washington bound offices are there, pressing flesh, kissing babies and having discussion about issues close to the hearts of those so connected to the land.
Almonds aren’t the only thing grown in Ripon. Blue Diamond has a huge processing center just north of Modesto. And in Ripon, Harris Orchards invites customers to pick their own Apricots, Grapes, Nectarine, Plums, Sweet Cherries and Peaches. Can’t get any fresher. One of the joys of living where we do is that we’re surrounded by fresh fruits, vegetables, cheese makers, wineries – a food lover’s paradise indeed.
Yeah, it’s summertime and we are blessed with riches beyond compare – family, faith, and that unshakable sense of community – things money can never buy. All the more reason to make some awesome ice cream, sit out on the front porch and watch the world go by.
Pure California Peach Ice Cream
6 medium Peaches (2 cups)
5 large Egg Yolks
1/2 cup Sugar
2 cups Whole Milk
1 (14-oz.) can Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 (12-oz.) can Evaporated Milk
1-1/2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
Prepare ice cream maker by freezing container according to manufacture’s instructions.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. While the water comes to a boil, prepare an ice bath.
With a sharp knife, score an X on the bottom of the peaches. Carefully lower the scored peaching into the boiling water for 30 seconds but no more than a minute.
Remove from boiling water with a slotted spoon, transfer to the prepared ice bath to cool for 1 minute.
Place cooled peaches on paper towels to drain, pat dry. The X should be curled back. Pull on the skin to remove, then slice and remove pit. Cut slices into bite-size pieces, mash and set aside.
Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar in a large heavy saucepan. Whisk in the milks. Cook milk mixture over medium-low, stirring constantly, for 15 minutes or until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Stir in the mashed peaches and vanilla extract.
Cool completely, about 30 minutes. Once cooked, cover and chill at least 4 hours or up to 8 hours.
Pour the custard into prepared electric ice-cream maker’s 3-quart freezer container. Freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. Once churning is complete, transfer to a freezer-safe container; freeze at least 2 hours or until firm. (Overnight is best).
Scoop into bowls or cones and enjoy.
Oh and one more thing – tomorrow is the 3rd Sunday in July – so while today is National Peach Ice Cream Day, tomorrow is a celebration of all things ice cream with National Ice Cream Day. Yeah!