From May to September peaches are grown and harvested here in South Carolina. When hearing about southern peaches, people typically think of Georgia and the “Georgia Peach.” However, there are several facts many do not know:
- South Carolina is the #2 producer of peaches. Second only to California.
- Peaches are the state fruit of South Carolina.
- South Carolina grows the tastiest fruit and is, therefore, called the “Tastiest Peach State.”
- Georgia started growing peaches commercially before South Carolina, thus got to name “Georgia Peach.”
A Brief History
South Carolina began growing peaches commercially in the 1850’s. In the 1920’s, with cotton crops destroyed by the boll-weevil, farmers were forced to look for new crops. Peaches became popular. During a normal year South Carolina grows 60,000 tons of peaches throughout the state. While tourism is the No. 1 contributor to South Carolina’s economy, the addition from the peach industry is significant, that value is about $40 million.
Freestone or Clingstone
Peaches grown in South Carolina are either clingstone or freestone. The term refers to how easily the flesh pulls away from the stone. It’s pretty easy to tell once you try to separate the two.
Clingstone’s are generally small and very sweet. Since the fruit doesn’t pull away from the stone, they are best eaten or used for jam or jelly. Clingstone fruit is available early starting in May and into June.
Freestone are available mid-June into September. They are best used for canning or freezing since the stone practically falls out when the fruit is sliced in half.
A Southern Recipe
As you might guess, southern cookbooks are filled with recipes with peaches. From spicy peach salsa to bourbon laced peach chicken to a peach and pineapple smoothie, peaches go from breakfast to dinner. No true southern cook would be without knowing how to make a tried and true staple – Quick Easy Peach Cobbler. With just 9 ingredients every cook has in their pantry, it goes together quick and easy.
Since I am from the north, I need to practice! This image was my second attempt. My first was a total disaster. A word of advice – don’t try to modify a recipe you have never tried. I thought a little extra peach jam wouldn’t hurt; apparently I was wrong. It was unfortunate too since I had beautiful freestone peaches from the farmstand. I had clingstone for the second try so I had a chunkier peach sauce and it didnt breakdown nicely; also I baked it a bit too long and browned the butter. Hopefully third time will be a charm!
If you would like to give the recipe a try, use the following link to Southern Living magazine’s Recipes webpage for:
Easy Peach Cobbler
Let me know if you give it a go – Success or Failure? Any wordsa of wisdom will be appreciated.