Monday, July 5, 2010

Nectarine Season at Last

The stone fruits have been slow to ripen this year due to our unusually cool and wet spring. Finally this week, there were really sweet nectarines at the farmers’ market on Sunday. I tour and taste-test the entire market before making my selection. I don’t usually like yellow nectarines and I only recently learned that I like the white ones. But this week we discovered a new yellow hybrid that met my standard for sweetness. It will be a banner week for nectarines at our house with all that we purchased. The yellow hybrids were destined for our first attempt at gelato.

The gelato was Larry's endeavor. He used a recipe from Taste of Home magazine for peach gelato, but substituted the nectarines, threw in a peach and also swiped one of my favorite white nectarines when I wasn’t looking. With only the fruit and a little water simmering on the stove, it already smelled like a heavenly cobbler. I stuck my finger in the pureed fruit for a taste (no one but us will be eating it) and I could have just taken a spoon and eaten it as is. That’s one of the problems I have with cooking good fruit. It almost seems like desecration to cook or add to it. I just want to savor it in its purest form. But we’re making gelato here.

We used the ice cream maker we’ve had for years but rarely use. It's the kind you put the insert in the freezer. I'm still rather fond of the old-fashioned kind with all the salt and ice where everyone takes a turn at the crank. We have one of those, too, but we have never used it that I can remember. While the mixture was chilling, I looked up some other recipes for ice cream and gelato. They all seemed pretty much the same except for the fruit or flavor you choose to add. So I’m not sure what was supposed to make this recipe gelato, as opposed to ice cream. And sure enough, it was really ice cream. Tasty, nectarine ice cream. Definitely not what I would expect for gelato. But we enjoyed it all the same. We’ll have to experiment further on how to get my idea of gelato.

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