A peachy treat for jams, cobblers or appetizers

Bring the subtle taste of peach to a favorite appetizer with this Peach Cheese Ball.

Bring the subtle taste of peach to a favorite appetizer with this Peach Cheese Ball.

Robin McDaniel is a community columnist for Blount Today and writes the weekly column - In The Kitchen. Every week she prepares or collaborates on a recipe then cooks and photographs the dish for Blount Today. Robin must consider it a labor of love. You can certainly see the love and care she puts into In the Kitchen each week.

This week’s In the Kitchen began 16 years ago when the father and son team of Bob and Roger Hampton planted a peach orchard down in Greenback. After years of hard work and dealing with the foibles of nature, we now celebrate their delicious harvest.

Julie Hampton Murr, daughter of Bob and Pearl Hampton, works in the Emergency Department with my sister, Gail, and is the source of the history for our peachy column. Julie has always brought baskets of peaches to work, tantalizing everyone with their wonderful aroma. Many different varieties are grown at The Peach Tree orchard. They all have their own unique flavor and qualities, making some best for jams, others perfect for a peach pie or cobbler.

As with many families who love to cook, the competition for the best recipes goes way back. One of today’s recipes, Granny (Linnie Mae) Hampton and Aunt Geneva Goodwin’s Lazy Day Cobbler is named for the sisters who baked it often and gently debated whose was better. Pearl Hampton has made sure her granddaughters, Amanda, Emily and Haley, have learned about their family traditions. Though definitely modern young women, they have learned to cook and work like their aunts and grandmothers before them. Pearl has even handed over her cookbooks to the next generation - quite an honor.

Depending on the weather, the peach season should last through August as the different varieties mature, so prepare to enjoy these recipes and others for weeks to come.

Pearl Hampton brought me some peaches and preserves. I decided to make the Peach Cheese Ball, and it was wonderful. The recommendation for making the preserves are to use Carogem, Red Skin or Elberta peaches.

Peach Cheese Ball

2 blocks (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened to room temperature (do not use fat free)

1 tsp. lemon juice

½ cup peach preserves (recipe follows)

Chopped pecans

Directions: Mix all ingredients together and form a ball. Roll in chopped pecans. Chill. Serve with thin wheat crackers. (Pearl recommends Breton Sesame Seed Wheat Thins.)

Peach Preserves

Peel and slice desired amount of peaches. Add ¼ to ½ cup sugar per each cup of peaches. Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice to each quart of peaches. On medium-low heat, cook down to desires thickness, which will take approximately 3 hours.

Put into hot jars and seal. Place in hot water for about 10 minutes.

Granny Hampton and Aunt Geneva Goodwin’s Lazy Day Cobbler

1 quart peaches, peeled, sliced and sweetened to taste

1 cup sugar

1 cup self-rising flour

1 cup milk

1 stick butter or margarine

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sweeten peaches to taste. Put butter in a 9 by 13 inch baking dish and place in oven to melt. Mix sugar and flour together. Add milk. Stir until smooth. Pour over melted butter. Add peaches. DO NOT STIR.

Bake 30 to 45 minutes or until golden brown.

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