Some time ago I spent a year living in Canada where I experienced the four seasons clearly defined.
I resided in Nelson BC, inland from Vancouver, where the seasons were extreme. One week there was snow covering the ground, and within days of the spring solstice – March 21 – the snow had melted and tulips were bursting through the ground.
The seasons’ beginning and end aren’t quite so distinct for our southern hemisphere islands. As anyone who grew up in the South Island will know, summer doesn’t properly arrive until Christmas (although this year does seem to be an exception).
If I had to pick one season, summer would be my favourite – I am sure I am not alone here. And the start of summer marks the beginning of preserving season in our house. With over 30 fruiting plants on our 800 square metre patch, there is always excess to be squirreled away for the cooler months.
Not all fruit can be preserved into jars, in particular super juicy fruit will disintegrate once processed. Our early peach, an heirloom called Wiggin’s, falls into this category. The white – almost green flesh – is mostly all juice, deliciously sweet when fresh, but once preserved it becomes a bland watery mass.
Whatever peaches we can’t eat fresh are best “preserved” by freezing. Whole fruit is cut into wedges and arranged in a single layer on a tray to prevent the fruit sticking together. Once frozen the wedges are tipped into a free-flow container and stored in the freezer to remove pieces as needed. This technique can be used for any juicy fruit or berries.
Throughout the year I use the peach wedges in smoothies in place of ubiquitous imported bananas that are so often used in smoothies to add sweetness and creaminess. Once you try smoothies with frozen stone-fruit you will never turn back.
Traditionally an Indian lassi is made with cow milk and cream but this is equally delicious made with dairy-free milks such as almond or coconut, and coconut cream. Any stone fruit or berries can used in place of the peaches in this recipe.
2 large peaches
1 cup milk
1/4 cup cream
1 tablespoon mild honey
pinch of cardamom powder (optional)
- Halve the peaches, remove the stones and cut into thin wedges. Arrange in a single layer on a tray and freeze until solid – around 3 hours.
- Place the frozen peaches into a blender, add the remaining ingredients and process until smooth. The lassi will be thick, so if needed add a splash of extra milk to thin. Pour into 2 glasses and serve immediately.
CREAMY LASSI ICE BLOCKS
Extra sweetener is needed when making frozen foods as the cold sensation dulls our taste buds. Cardamom is a traditional spice added to lassi. It is strong flavoured so don’t add too much or it can overpower. The apple cider vinegar and salt reduces the formation of ice crystals for a creamier texture.
3 large peaches
½ cup cream or coconut cream
2 tablespoons mild honey or maple syrup
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
¼ teaspoon cardamom powder
pinch of salt
Place all the ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth. Pour into 4 ice block moulds and freeze until solid – around 4 hours. To easily extract the ice blocks from the moulds hold the base under running warm water to soften enough to slide free.
*First published 6th January 2017 on Stuff.co.nz.