Nothing says summer quite like a roadside farm stand overflowing with bushels of freshly picked peaches. Their fragrant aroma, rosy blush and juicy-sweet taste make them irresistible, whether baked in a pie or enjoyed out-of-hand in a cool spot in the shade. This healthy favourite is also a good source of antioxidants.
- Available April through September, peaches are best in July and August.
- Clingstones and freestones are common varieties.
- Clingstones have a stubborn flesh that "clings" to the pit, while freestones can be easily separated from the pit.
- Look for bright, round, plump peaches that are free of bruises with smooth, unwrinkled skin and yield to gentle pressure.
- Make sure the background colour is yellow, with no hint of green colouring generally means the fruit was picked too early and will not be sweet.
- Avoid completely hard fruit, which will never ripen to full flavour.
- Red colouring is not an indicator of ripeness, since this differs based on the variety.
- 1 lb peaches is equivalent to the following:
- 2 large cups
- 3 medium cups
- 2 cups sliced
- 1 2/3 cups diced
- 1 1/2 cups pureed.
- To ripen, place in a paper bag and keep on the kitchen counter, away from direct sunlight.
- Once ripe, store peaches in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- Only refrigerate ripe peaches. Unripe fruit will not ripen properly in a cold refrigerated environment and may produce a mealy texture or bland taste.
- Prevent discolouration by sprinkling freshly cut peaches with a few drops of lemon or lime juice.
- Peaches are a versatile, natural topping. Slice over cottage cheese, yogourt or your favourite high fibre cereal. For a special treat, serve over ice cream.
- Puree ripe peaches and use as a topping for pancakes or waffles.