There is nothing better than U-pick orchards. About three miles from the house we have one with peaches. So me and the boys are traipsing there today with 20 bucks and some time. One of the best deals in the world. I have put the youngest onto task of telling me how to dry (don't worry, I already know, but any parent knows that words coming out of a parents mouth carry a little more weight if they match something found in a book).
So peach pies for the winter...and don't kid yourself my friends, peach pies made with dried peaches are as good if not better than fresh peach pie. You have to be careful and soak them in just barely enough water, but you can put the spices and some of the sugar in the soaking water and the peaches suck up the good flavor.....yum.
Blackberries are out too. After we finish the peaches, we are heading out for blackberries. One of the great things about living in the northwest is that blackberries are nothing but bloody weeds. But for about a month every year you can pick and eat blackberries to your hearts content. Blackberry cobbler is my son's specialty. The key to the recipe is the cardamom.
Storing blackberries isn't quite as easy. They are too fragile to dry really well, so we freeze 'em. You go out and pick them, them you rinse them off well, then you lay them on a big cookie sheet that has the bottom covered with wax paper and into the freezer they go. when they are frozen all the way through, they go into a gallon zip-lock. You have to pick every day for a week or so this way if you want to get through the winter, but it isn't a huge problem.
Gabe's Blackberry Cobbler
A half cup of butter
A cup of flour
A cup of sugar
A healthy pinch of salt
a half teaspoon of cardomom
Two thirds of a cup of buttermilk.
a pound or two of blackberries
Preheat the oven to 350F or 175C
Melt the butter in a 2 quart casserole. Leave it there.
Mix all of the dry ingredients above in a bowl, then when it is well mixed, (don't be shy about the mixing, I really do mean mix it thoroughly) then dump in the buttermilk and stir it until it is well mixed, then dump it into the melted butter in the casserole.
Pour the blackberries over the top of the dough in the casserole. Shove it into the oven and bake it for around 45 minutes. Serve it as hot as you can stand it. Ice cream doesn't hurt it a bit.