Farmer’s Markets. Something about them makes me lose complete control of my person. They have that enchanting, 1950s feeling that I just cannot resist. This often results in me buying a plethora of ingredients, and not knowing exactly what to do with all of them. Peaches right now are at their peak of season and I can think of few things more delightful then the first bite into a perfectly ripened peach. That fuzzy feeling on your lips as the juice trickles down your face, mmmm…happy times. A few days ago I made a visit to one to one of those roadside markets and purchased a 1/2 bushel of fresh, ripe Red Haven’s.
Red Haven peaches are a freestone variety which means that their flesh easily pulls away from the pit. Clingstone peach pit’s, as the name implies, “cling” to the flesh around it. Clingstone peaches are usually harvested in the beginning of the season and are typically used for canning, jams, or other preservation methods. There are literally hundreds of peach varieties. Many of the peaches we see in our local supermarkets are yellow-fleshed, this golden color comes from an abundance of beta carotene. Markets have also begun to carry several white-fleshed varieties. White peaches have a much lower acid content which in turn makes for an extremely sweet piece of fruit. When selecting your peaches look for a heavy “blush” or redness on the peach and slightly firm, full cheeks. Peaches continue to soften after they are harvested, so if you have to buy them slightly firmer than you would prefer, it’s okay. Though the sugar content does not increase, the flesh will soften rapidly, especially if placed in a brown paper bag. Peaches are delightful to eat as is but if you happen to have a 1/2 bushel to use up before you go on vacation, I believe we can come up with some delicious ways to incorporate the prunus persica into our culinary adventures. (Recipes and preservation methods will be coming soon!)