A Guide To Buying And Cooking Peach
It’s that time of year where a walk in the produce department makes my mouth water. The heady scent of peaches fills the air, and I can’t wait to take some home. Although peaches are scrumptious eaten alone, they are also a gourmet addition to many meals, savory or sweet.
Think creatively this summer and enjoy sweet, juicy peaches while they last.
How to Buy Peach
Although peaches are available in many grocery stores from April through October, they are at their peak in July, August, and early September. If you live in a mild climate area, you can probably find peaches at the local Farmer’s Market. But if temperatures drop to 28 degrees F or less in your area, peaches won’t grow nearby.
Look for peaches with a golden yellow background (if the flesh is yellow) or a creamy yellow (if the flesh is white). The blushing quality of the skin is not an indicator of whether or not the fruit is ripe. When you gently squeeze the peach, it should give slightly, and when you smell the peach, it should have a sweet scent. Avoid any peaches with green peels surrounding the stem, or wrinkled skin.
How to Store Peach
Peaches are best kept on the counter until they reach preferred ripeness. Once ripe, store peaches in the refrigerator’s crisper bin for about 5 days.
How to Prepare Peach
Before eating or cooking with peaches, gently rub the skin while holding the fruit under warm water.
If a recipe calls for chopping or slicing the fruit, understand that it will discolor unless you sprinkle it with lemon juice.
To peel peaches, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Using a paring knife, carve an “X” on the bottom of each peach. Try to go through the skin of the peach only. Place the peaches in the boiling water; the liquid should cover the fruit completely. Ripe peaches are ready to be removed in 40 seconds. Not-quite-ripe peaches can sit a little longer.
Remove the peaches with a slotted spoon and place them directly in a sink or bowl filled with ice water. Let them cool for about a minute, then remove them and pat dry with a towel. Starting at the “X,” peel back each peach’s skin. It should easily slide off.
To remove the pit from peaches, use a knife to cut all the way around the diameter of the fruit. Make sure to cut deeply, down to the pit. Twist the peach halves in opposite directions. The pit will either fall out, or (if the fruit isn’t quite ripe) will stay attached to only one half of the peach. In the latter case, remove the pit with your fingers.
How to Cook Peach
Peaches are commonly used in desserts, from peaches and cream dishes to jam, from cobblers and pies to cakes. Peaches also make an excellent topping for ice cream and yogurt.
Peaches are especially sweet grilled. Select not quite ripe fruit and remove the pit. Grill one half at a time, or cut the peach into slices. Brush the cut edges of the peach with canola oil and cook over a medium fire until peaches are tender – but not falling to pieces. Serve grilled peaches in salads or by themselves.
Peaches also make great smoothies, additions to green or fruit salads, and sweet accompaniments to pork, poultry, and veal dishes.
Nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, red wine, rum, and sherry are flavorful additions to peaches.
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