The dwarf peach ‘Bonanza’ is a beautiful little tree in spring, summer, and winter; but it is not usually known for its colors in the fall, at least in the desert Southwest. This fall has proven to be spectacular, as has the little dwarf peach, ‘Bonanza.’
Today was the day to begin harvesting the peaches. How do I know? A little bird told me!
As soon as the peaches almost reach ripeness, the birds begin to sample them. Some people cover their fruit trees with netting to protect the fruit from being eaten by the birds. I find it easier to pick the fruit and let it finish ripening a day or so indoors.
This is what one branch looked liked before I picked its peaches. Notice that the branch is almost horizontal from the weight of the peaches (another reason to thin the peaches after the danger of frost has past).
This is what the same branch looked liked after the peaches had been picked:
Harvesting of the peaches as they ripen will continue over the next week or two. Yummmm. . .
Once the risk of a hard freeze is past, the tiny peaches need to be thinned if you want to get large fruit. Otherwise you will get a whole lot of small, but very tasty, fruit. A shame, you might be thinking. That would all depend upon what use you intended to make of the peaches.
These small peaches make wonderful whole spiced peaches to be canned for use in the winter holidays. They are first canned whole (recipe to follow). They can be cut in half and served over ice cream as a holiday dessert. They can be served alone as dessert. They can be used in a fruit compote. Halved, they make a wonderful topping for custard tartlets. Peaches this size can usually be packed 12 to a quart jar. The ‘Bonanza’ peaches will turn the syrup a wonderful shade of red.
Whole Spiced Peaches (for small peaches) – Recipe from the Ball Blue Book
Wash peaches; drop into boiling water for 30 – 60 seconds; immediately plunge into cold water. Peel fruit, but leave whole. Drop into a solution of FruitFresh or similar while all of the fruit is peeled. Be sure to wash before adding to hot syrup mixture.
For eight pounds of peaches, combine
1 cup sugar
4 cups water
2 cups honey
in a large saucepot and cook until sugar dissolves. Add one layer of peaches at a time to the hot syrup, and cook for about three minutes. Pack hot peaches into hot jars. Leave 1/2 inch headspace.
To each jar, add
1 stick of cinnamon
1/4 tsp whole cloves
1/2 tsp whole allspice
Ladle hot syrup into jars, again leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
Remove air bubbles.
Secure 2-piece lids.
Process in a water bath for 25 minutes.
When cool, be sure to store in a cool, dark spot until you are ready to enjoy these wonderful little peaches.