But what to do with such abundance? The expression used is “putting up.” In the past this meant cooking, canning, and preserving the summer flavors of peaches, summer squash, and string beans in jars so that when the cold of winter has us bundled up and huddled around the hearth, these flavors can be enjoyed, triggering a sense of warmth and sunshine.
What I have discovered in researching this article is that in the world of canning, there are different ways to preserve fruits. There is making jams, jellies, and preserves. Each process yields different results.
Then, there is the compote. A fruit compote is intended to be served right away. And by one account, in 17th Century France, compotes were served warm with just a dollop of sour cream. They were not poured over cakes or ice cream or canned and saved for a later day
In modern America “compote” has come to mean whatever a chef says it is. Whether pureed or diced, a compote is simple and straight forward fruit cooked in syrup with spices, then served over an exciting array of pastries, baked goods, and frozen cream.
As I thought about what to do with the ripe and luscious bounty of peaches I encountered at the local grocer’s, I realized that a ginger-spiced peach compote would taste heavenly on top of quinoa waffles. So I give you this creation, in the spirit of traditional cooking of fruit compotes.
- 3 fresh peaches, sliced or cubed
- 1 oz thin ginger slices
- 2 whole star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3-4 clove
- 4-5 allspice
- 4 oz sugar (or your favorite sugar substitute)
- 4 oz water
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- Dash of vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp salt
- Make a satchel out of muslin or cheese cloth. Place the spices in the satchel.
- Cut open the peaches and remove the pit. Place all the ingredients except lemon juice into a pot. Bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer for 10-12 minutes, until the fruit is tender and oozing juice. Add lemon juice, vanilla extract and salt at the end. Remove the satchel and squeeze all the spice goodness out of it.
- Remove the pan from the heat. If you are going to can this peach wonder taste, follow safe canning procedures. If not, put in a mason jar and seal it up tight. It will last in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
- Warm through before serving over quinoa flax waffles, your favorite pancakes, or with a dollop of soy yogurt in a bowl.
- If you want to add a little alcohol flavor use Myer’s rum. Bring the ingredients up to a boil, reduce heat, and pour the rum over the peaches. It will flambe, (meaning catch fire), let the alcohol cook out, and continue cooking on a low heat for 5 to 7 minutes.