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Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Peachy October

September is usually our month for peaches.  We only have one tree, but last year it was absolutely laden with peaches.  The peaches are "peche de vigne", or blood peaches, and ripen later than the usual white or yellow fleshed peaches.  Last year I bottled so many of them we still have a "bottled glut", so this year I thought I'd do something different with them.

They were a bit later this year, and there weren't quite as many, but still lots.  So far I've made peach jam (Queen of Jams) which stated in the recipe "crack open the peach stones with a hammer, remove the kernel, skin it, and put this in the jam". Have you ever tried to shell a peach kernel?  Well neither had I, and after hitting them as hard as I could at least 5 or 6 times, the first two or three exploded in a shower of shell and kernel, all over the garden.  After that I started to use my brain and realised there was "just the right place" to hammer it in order to get it to split cleanly.  Then I had to skin them!  The whole procedure took as long as it did to make the jam.  Anyway, I never intended to go on quite so long about a pot of jam!

The other thing I've been making is peach fruit leather.  This is very easy to make - basically, chop the peaches (removing the stones) and blitz them in the food processor with a tablespoon of honey, spread it in a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and put it in the oven on it's lowest temperature for 6-8 hours.  Yeah right!  After 6-8 hours mine was maybe half way through.  The idea is not to cook the peaches, but dry them.  If you have a dehydrator you can use that instead.  Anyway, it is delicious when finished, and a very healthy snack too.  The fruit leather will keep for quite a while in an airtight container.

As I still have about three large bowls of peaches in the fridge, I'm planning to make more fruit leather, more jam and maybe some peach chutney.

However, this was not the point of today's post.  The point is, the other day I was clearing underneath the tree as there were quite a lot of windfalls which were damaged by ants or just starting to rot.  I filled a bucket, walked across to the compost heap and stopped . . . what was I doing?  There's lots of colour in these peaches.  I must be able to extract some dye from them surely?  Having searched Ravelry and the internet to see if anyone else had dyed with peaches, I came up with absolutely nothing!  Apart from using the peach stones for dyeing.  The only option was to try it and see for myself.

That very day the whole lot was dumped into the dyepot and covered with water.  I heated it to boiling pot and then reduced to a simmer for about an hour.  After straining, I had what looked like a very nice pan of peach juice.  I didn't fancy using it for anything else though because there had been so many ants in there!

To cut a very long story short, I mordanted some merino fleece with alum and cream of tartar, and threw it in the dyepot.  This is what came out :-

It's a really rich colour.  But what colour?  What would you call this?  Eric says it's tan.
Tan is boring, it can't possibly be just tan.  It's got to be something more exotic - light chestnut, or auburn - I used to know someone who had hair this colour.  What do you think?

Now, I wonder what colour I'd get from figs . . .


  1. A peachy tan, I think.
    Loraine x

  2. Thanks Loraine . . . it would have to be peachy wouldn't it?