Fresh peaches brighten up the season
August 24, 2015
Staying on the topic of summer produce, let’s move our attention to peaches. These juicy, sweet hand-fruits are one of my personal favorites. And just like sweet corn that we mentioned last week, there are a variety of ways to enjoy them.
How to pick a peach
Just like any piece of fruit you purchase at the grocery store, peaches have simple signals to look for to find the best.
The first thing to consider is where your fruit is coming from. The less distance it has to travel from the farm to you, the better. So consider checking out your local farmers markets. This is important because in order for a piece of fruit to travel a long distance, farmers typically pick it earlier so it is harder and therefore less likely to suffer damage or spoiling during transit. Local produce doesn’t have to stand up to long travel, so farmers can wait longer before harvesting, ensuring fruit is only picked when ripe. Plus if it doesn’t have to travel far, it doesn’t have to be refrigerated; refrigerating fruit, especially peaches, before it is ripe changes the fruit completely. For example, peaches become mealy and will not ripen properly to become the juicy, sweet fruit that we love.
If you can, taste your peaches before purchasing. If the store or market you are at offers samples, take them up on it. This way you can know for sure that the fruit you are purchasing is ripe and flavorful to your desire.
If you cannot taste, look for color and texture. Peaches should be red around the stem; this means they will continue to ripen properly and will be juicy. Peaches that are yellow or even green around the stem were picked too early. You can also squeeze a peach to see if it is ripe. Gently squeeze the neck – where the stem is – of a peach. It should be soft, but not too soft; look for a little give at your touch.
Once you have your sweet treats home, you want to store them properly. Peaches should be stored at room temperature in a fruit basket that allows for proper air circulation. Baskets are best because they allow the air to flow around the fruit – this prevents over-ripening and spoiling.
Once peaches are ripe, they can be placed in the fridge if you cannot use them right away. Watch for wrinkles though – that means they are drying out.
You can also can your peaches to use throughout the rest of the year. Canning is a detail orientated process, but it can be easily mastered by anyone. You can find a detailed list of this process on our Pinterest.
If you are more a “seize the day” type, you can enjoy those peaches now. A nice glass pie pan makes for the perfect pie every time. I’m a fool for homemade pie – and it doesn’t get much easier than this:
- Slow Cooker Peach Pie Filing
- 8 ripe peaches, peeled and sliced (or chopped)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup brandy, optional
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Cut up peaches and place them in a large mixing bowl. Mix peaches with sugar, brown sugar, brandy, cinnamon and vanilla. Pour your mixture into the slow cooker and top it off with butter. Cook for 1 ½ to 2 hours on low, stirring half way through. Peaches should be tender and the sauce should thicken. Enjoy it alone warm with ice cream or allow it to cool and bake it in a pie.
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