It is peach season in the south. Most people might think peach pie, peach ice cream or even pork chops with peaches but for me, I have a new favorite: peach vinegar. I have always enjoyed the fruit infused aged balsamic vinegars that can be purchased from specialty olive oil store like Williams Sonoma and the Nashville Olive Oil Company I have discovered the ease and intense flavor of making my own fruit vinegar concoctions. With a couple of simple ingredients, you can turn that ripe (or even overripe) bounty into salad dressing and marinade goodness.
No added sugar necessary
One of the drawbacks of the store-bought fruit vinegars is the sugar content. While I’m willing to take in a few carbs through beneficial fruit I don’t want to completely mess up my low-carb meals with the sugar laden aspects of manufactured products. My recipe uses a sugar replacement that emphasizes the fruit without loading up on chemicals. If you can get your hands on some Trim Healthy Mama Gentle Sweet use it but play around with your favorite sweeteners if you like. If you’d rather use honey or maple syrup, go ahead, it works beautifully.
Mix it up: Use other fruit
This recipe calls for peaches but I’ve subbed mango, apple and plum and they all work beautifully. The trick is to boil the concoction and let it sit until room temperature to pull all the flavor out of the fruit. One of the things I love is the beautiful colors that come from fresh fruit. They are gorgeous!
How to use your fruit vinegar
Our two favorite ways to use fruit vinegar are in salad dressings and meat marinades. Fruit vinaigrettes like this Simple Mango Vinaigrette or a Peach & Lemon Balm Vinaigrette brighten a summer salad and blend beautifully with salad greens, goat’s cheese & walnuts. The fall flavors of apple or a sweet deep plum are delicious paired with a salad of spinach, onion, toasted pecans and slivers of cheddar.
My family’s favorite dinner is flank steak marinated in a concoction of mango vinegar, avocado oil, soy sauce & garlic. The touch of sweetness helps the meat to caramelize beautifully and we can’t get enough. The same holds for chicken marinated in peach vinegar, olive oil and salt & pepper. It’s so simple and so good!
½ cup THM Gentle Sweet (or sweetener of your choice)
¼ cup Maple Syrup (optional but adds a varied sweetness)
In a large sauce pan add your vinegar and sweetener(s)
Wash you fruit but don’t peel it and cut into slices or chunks (discarding the pits)
Add the fruit to the vinegar and sweetener and bring to a slow boil on medium high heat
Boil gently for 10 minutes
Cover the pot and let the mixture cool completely
Strain the liquids from the solids with a fine mesh strainer into a non-reactive bowl (I use a glass bowl with a lip for pouring)
Transfer vinegar into a glass jar or bottle and refrigerate
I washed the label off the Colavita vinegar bottle for a pretty container for my peach vinegar. I love the top on this container as well as it helps dispense the vinegar without over-pouring. The rest of the vinegar went into a small mason jar for immediate use in a chicken marinade.
I’m on a roll making these and I’d love more ideas! Can you think of other uses for fruit vinegars?
I don’t want to start a fight here or anything but my Grandmum’s carrot cake is the very best carrot cake, hands down.
Yep, I said it. You might think you’ve had the best but unless you’ve had this recipe – step back. Fact is, my Grandmum couldn’t have cared less who had the best recipe. She just kept herself very busy, working with my Grandpa to take care of their family and anyone God led into their lives. Waldo and Lenna lived on a massive 1/4 acre in downtown Quincy, Massachusetts and through thick or thin (including the Depression, wars and rationing) my grandparents home was open and tea was on the table.
I remember summers when they would visit us and settle in to enjoy “farm life” on our 5 acres in Upstate New York. Grandpa Burgess would help my mom in the garden while Grandmum would shell peas or grate carrots for her famous cake. I loved the cake but hated the raisins that my mom would ask her to include. Carrot cake doesn’t need the extra sweet, in my opinion, so I give you the real, the original, BCCE (best carrot cake ever).
For those of you who know my family and the way we eat, this is a very Saturday treat!
Best Carrot Cake Ever
Combine oil & sugar in a medium bowl and beat in one egg at a time. The mix will become fluffy.
1 1/2 Cups Oil (I use coconut oil)
2 Cups sugar
3 cups grated carrots
1 grated apple
1/2 C. crushed pineapple
1 C. chopped nuts
2 C flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
Combine all ingredients and pour into a greased 9″ x 13″ pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until firm and caramel brown on top. Frost with this simple, delicious, not-too-sweet cream cheese frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
1 stick butter (4oz, softened)
1 block cream cheese (softened)
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups powdered sugar
Beat all ingredients till smooth and frost your completely cooled cake.
My mom was amazing at a lot of things but one of the things I remember most about her gardening was that she found a way to use everything she planted. What wasn’t fed to us, or friends, was given to the horses or compost bin. Nothing went to waste. Instead of horses I have chickens but the challenge is still alive. It is mid-winter here in the mid-south and while picking is slim we are blessed with plenty of kale, carrots and crimson mustard greens. The carrots are a yummy addition to any meal and while the mustard greens are pretty and abundant, my family has deemed them best as fodder for the chickens. It’s time to put the kale to good use.
Stir Fry Kale
4 cups fresh kale (torn into bite sized pieces)
1/2 T Butter
1 T Nutritional Yeast
1/2 t Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 t onion salt (Trader Joe’s is my go-to)
Heat your pan on medium high and melt the butter. Add your kale and top with the dry ingredients. Sprinkle the ACV over the whole lot and stir fairly often for 4-5 minutes so your seasoning mixes throughout and your kale doesn’t burn.
Serve with eggs or eat alone. This recipe makes two portions packed with vitamins A, K, B6, C, calcium, potassium, copper and manganese, fiber, thiamine, riboflavin, antioxidants, amino acids and B-12. Whew! You just thought you were having breakfast!
I’ve tried cheesy, I’ve tried buttery, I’ve tried spicy, complicated and highly recommended but NOTHING beats this recipe for scalloped potatoes.
6-8 Potatoes, peeled & sliced
Salt & pepper
Tricky, I know. Place a layer of potatoes in a buttered dish (make sure your dish is not too shallow – this will bubble up). Sprinkle heavily with salt and pepper. Layer potatoes with salt & pepper until you use up the potatoes you’ve prepared. Pour heavy cream over the potatoes until you can see it coming up the edge (full but not drowning.) Bake in 400 degree over until brown and bubbly (45 min to an hour)