Do you have a favorite food your grandma used to make?
On a recent trip to the Farmers Market I sampled a perfectly ripe peach, and a flood of memories came back. Suddenly, I had a craving for the “stewed” fruit my grandma used to make when she came over to our house on Thursdays.
It was a summer ritual I looked forward to with the arrival of the season’s bounty – peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots, cherries and berries. My grandma and I would sit at our kitchen table cutting the stone fruit into chunks as the juice made a sticky mess of our hands. She let me have fun with the cherry pitter that pushed out the dark red pits in one simple motion.We’d fill a big pot with the cut fruit, pour in some water and bring it to a simmer on the stove. As the fruit softened, a thick, ruby red syrup formed. We’d peek at it often to make sure it didn’t boil over or get too mushy. When it was finally done, the sweet fragrance of the fruit filled the entire house. My mouth watered as I anticipated my first bite. Grandma carefully took a spoonful from the pot and blew on it so I wouldn’t burn my tongue. That first taste was heavenly and I could have consumed the whole pot. But we had to chill it in the frig so it would be ready for dessert that night.
Last week I called my mom and shared these memories with her. I invited her to come over and see if we could recreate Grandma’s recipe. After we put the pot of fruit on the stove, we went out to the garden to wait. I brought my Grandma’s white Mirro-matic kitchen timer outside with us. Just before the timer went off, I decided to check the fruit. The pot had boiled over and left a big red puddle around the burner.
I suddenly heard my grandma’s voice: “Dearie, you can’t cook in the bedroom!”
My mom and I laughed, cleaned up the mess and inspected the fruit. It was perfect – just like we remembered.
I didn’t even wait for it to cool off to taste it!
Recipe for Grandma Amelia’s Stewed Fruit
2 large ripe nectarines
1 large ripe peach
4 large ripe apricots
3 large red plums
1 small carton boysenberries
12 dark cherries, pitted
- Cut the unpeeled fruit into 1 1/2” chunks and place in a 4-quart saucepan.
- Pour in 1 cup water. Bring to a boil over medium heat and then simmer partially covered about 8 minutes. Watch carefully so it doesn’t boil over!
- Add berries and simmer another 10 to 15 minutes until soft but not mushy.
- Cool, chill and enjoy!