August 21, 2012

Peach Cobbler, Brandy, & Political Preserves



Prunus persica: scientific name for the peach, a sweet, juicy summer treat. 1

Each year, throughout Western Pennsylvania, the peach is celebrated—an appropriate activity in August, which is National Peach Month.

A peach festival will be held 3-7 pm Saturday August 13, 2011, at Hilltop United Methodist Church in Madison (PA) 

A peach festival is planned for 4-7 p. m. (August 18, 2012) at Lebanon United Methodist Church, on Old Forbes Road in Ligonier Township. Supper will be available along with various peach desserts and other baked goods.

Even politicians recognize the value of peaches, as demonstrated by Rick Santorum, former U.S. senator and GOP presidential nominee wannabe who went “peachy’’ in Iowa in an attempt to appeal not just to Iowa Republicans’ hearts, but to their stomachs, too…Republican presidential candidates offer something special to draw supporters to the Ames straw poll in the run-up to the Iowa caucuses. This election cycle’s straw poll will be held Saturday (August 13, 2011).

So what special something is Santorum offering in Iowa?…He told a small Iowa gathering that he and his wife, Karen, have some fruit trees back home. He said the family harvested about 600 early peaches, which he and the kids peeled and made into peach jam at their house, along with about 40 jars of peach preserves that the Santorums are bringing to the straw poll.

Everyone is expected to get a sample of what Santorum referred to as “Pennsylvania Presidential Peach Preserves.”2


No wonder the peach is king. It is low in calories, have virtually no fat, and are high in vitamins C and A, dietary fiber, potassium and niacin.

Sweet, juicy summer treat originally thought to have originated in Persia, but now believed to be native to China, most likely brought to the Mediterranean by Chinese traders and to the Americas by Spanish explorers.

Peaches are grown in more than 60 countries; the U.s.—particluarly Georgia and South Carolina—is a major producer…1


Santorum wasn’t the first American politician who recognized the value of peaches. George Washington, best known as a general and president, could teach Santorum about making peach brandy if he was alive.

…historians don’t know Washington’s exact brandy formula…”According to the period accounts there really isn’t a recipe,” said Dennis Pogue, who oversees historic research at Mount Vernon. “You take the peaches, you mash them up, you throw them in a barrel with water, and then you heat them up.”3

He also mentioned the stuff to friends. In 1786 Washington wrote a letter to the Marquis de Lafayette, the French general who served with him during the Revolutionary War, and sent him a barrel of Virginia hams.

“I wanted to have (accompanied) them with an anchor of old Peach brandy,” he wrote, “but could not provide any which I thought of such a quality as would do credit to the distillery of this liquor, & therefore sent none. 3

In October 2010 the Mount Vernon staff used the estate’s distillery to re-create Washington’s peach brandy.


Peach brandy may have been a choice beverage in Washington’s day. Accordingly, the French 500 who made their way to Gallipolis, Ohio, from France in 1790 and 1791, one of the beverages they consumed in Gallipolis was peach brandy.4


My husband Monte and I were fortunate to attend the peach festival at Lebanon United Methodist Church, which is just up the hill a ways and around the corner a ways from our home. We ate a meal that included hamburgers, pulled pork, and haluska—our dessert being peaches on biscuits or angel food cake with or without ice cream.

Ummmm…where’s the next peach festival in the area?





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1Source  Greensburg Tribune-Review Aug 10, 2011, pp D2, their source Michigan Peach Sponsors,

2Santorum ‘peachy’ in Iowa – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


4 The French 500




  1. yum–juicy gold treat / with ice cream, of course

    Comment by Joan — August 21, 2012 @ 9:13 am | Reply

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