Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Story of Spiced Peach Muffins

Despite the unusually warm temps Milwaukee has been seeing this winter, I've still been missing spring, summer, and fall: the planting, the harvests, and the preserves. Jeremy and I were able to learn a lot about gardening this past year by renting a plot of land in Oak Creek, just south of Milwaukee. We planted everything from sunflowers to green beans, had a few bountiful harvests and sadly, several epic fails. But, all in all it was a great experience that allowed us to get out of our city apartment and into God's beautiful creation. 
Meet Grandma Gladys. (I love her so much). This fall we visited my grandma and "helped" her out by taking buckets and bag loads of apples from trees my grandpa grew himself and peaches my grandma grew from pits. There's something so special about eating fresh fruit picked off of trees your grandparents grew; no pesticides, no chemical fertilizers, just fresh picked fruit - the best you'll ever taste. 
We canned jars and jars of applesauce, apple butter, and peaches (reusable bpa-free tattler lids). This applesauce is the best I've ever had; so sweet and flavorful! I eat one or two spoonfuls daily with my oatmeal. Recently I tried some store bought (organic) applesauce and was amazed at the tastelessness of the puree I had just eaten. We only have three jars left of our canned applesauce.  It's a pretty difficult time for me right now....

Back to the peaches. The story of Grandma Gladys' peach trees has really evolved over the years but I managed to get the real scoop when we visited this fall. She asked for some peaches from a neighbor's tree, put the pit in some dirt in a bucket, left the bucket outside over winter so it could acclimate, then planted it directly into the ground that following spring. She now has three peach trees in central Wisconsin and is still very upset about the fourth pit that didn't spring up.

Now, to combat my current winter blues, I cracked open a few jars of peaches and decided to experiment with some spiced peach muffins. I was almost out of brown sugar and didn't feel like making any so I used a variety of different sugars. Feel free to experiment with this as you'd like. Here is the recipe I came up with. (All organic ingredients).

Spiced Peach Muffins

1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup sucanat
1/4 cup cane sugar 
1/4 brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract (not artificial)
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil (I used a little less that 1/2 cup olive oil, but you can substitute applesauce as well)
1 1/2 cups diced peaces (I used our canned peaches but I assume fresh would also taste fantastic)

Mix dry ingredients. Mix wet ingredients. Combine. Add peaches. Combine. Oil muffin tins, fill, and bake at 350'F for 25-30 minutes. Serve hot and fresh with a steaming cup of oolong tea and a piece of fresh fruit.

We'll really miss our garden and Grandma's apples and peaches next year since we are moving to Beijing. But, I hear Beijing has some pretty amazing CSA's (Community Supported Agriculture) and  organic farms . Stay tuned!

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