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Cooking with Tea: Just Peachy!

I was in the farmer’s market the other day and overheard someone say that they weren’t going to buy peaches because they’d had so many that they were sick of them.

Huh? Sick of them? How can anyone not want to eat as many beautiful peaches as possible during their short growing season? Are there actually people who can get enough of that pure taste of summer, of peach juice dribbling down your chin? I cannot believe it!

The Peachoid water tower in Gaffney, South Carolina.
The Peachoid water tower in Gaffney, South Carolina.

Peaches are South Carolina’s official state fruit. There’s even a giant peach (fondly called The Peachoid) proudly welcoming folks to “The Tastier Peach State.” Palmetto farmers produce more peaches than any other state except California – yup, even more than our neighbours to the south in Georgia.

During July, there are pick-your-own farms and peach festivals all over the state. Newspapers and magazines feature peach recipes of every kind. Here’s my favourite … and of course it incorporates tea. This recipe couldn’t be easier to prepare, and it’s terrific as an appetizer, a between-courses palate cleanser, or as dessert.

Look for peaches of good size and weight, and let them ripen until they’re sweet and juicy before trying this recipe. I chose Formosa oolong, a tea with inherent “peachy” flavour notes, tho’ I imagine it would work equally well with a naturally peach-flavoured tea, or perhaps with a light green tea. Remember: To prepare strong tea, use about half again as much tea leaf and steep for normal time for that type of tea, rather than steeping for extra time as this will result in bitter tea. The “cup” refers to a standard eight-ounce measuring cup, not a teacup, which usually holds only six ounces. Serve in a soup plate (a low, flat bowl) with a dollop of yoghurt. Then sit back and wait for the peach-induced smiles!

Soup or ice pops … yummy either way!
Soup or ice pops … yummy either way!

Just Peachy Soup
About 4 servings

3 cups sliced fresh ripe peaches
2 Tablespoons maple syrup or honey; 3 Tablespoons if you’re serving as dessert
2 Tablespoons vanilla yoghurt, dairy or non-dairy (soy or coconut) plus additional (optional), divided
1 cup strong Formosa oolong tea, cooled
1 cup not-from-concentrate orange juice pinch of ground cinnamon

Place all ingredients except the additional yoghurt into a food processor or blender. Process or blend until smooth. Transfer to an airtight container and chill in the ‘fridge for at least two hours. Serve cold, with a dollop of yoghurt if desired.

Alternatively, pour the blend into moulds, insert sticks, freeze until solid, and you’ve got delicious and refreshing peachy tea ice pops!

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2 responses to “Cooking with Tea: Just Peachy!”

  1. Indeed. We used to live near the PA peach orchards and there were so many kinds of peaches, with flavor variations and the juice would run down our chins. So many ways to really enjoy them. Never tired of them!

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