Peaches are native to China. They are believed to have come to Europe via Persia, thus the nickname: Persian Apple.
There are two main varieties: Freestones and Clingstones. Freestones: the pit is free from the fruit. This is more commonly found in supermarkets. Clingstones: the fruit clings to the pit. This peach is used more commercially.
Peach season is May through October.
To choose a peach, check for a strong peach fragrance. The fruit should be firm, yet gives slightly to firm pressure. Due to the fact that peaches bruise easily, avoid any fruit with soft spots.
If you choose a peach, which has not ripened yet, place in a pierced brown paper bag for a couple of days. If you choose to add an apple, the ripening process will increase as apples release a certain gas that aids in other fruits ripening.
Store your peaches in a plastic bag and place in the refrigerator for 5 days. Allow any peach to warm up to room temperature before using.
Peaches are high in Vitamins A and C.
If you need to skin your peach, the best way is to blanch it. Blanching is the process where you place a fruit or vegetable in boiling water for a few seconds, then placing them in iced water to stop the cooking process. When doing this for peaches, they need to boil only for 30 seconds before being placed in the iced water. Once cooled, you can easily peel the skin from the fruit.
If you need to remove the pit, cut around the pit. While holding the fruit, twist the two halves in opposite directions. Use a knife to help loosen the pit from the fruit, and then remove with your fingers.
Equivalency 1 lb. Fresh = 4 medium peaches, 2 1/2 cups chopped 1 medium peach = 3/4 cup chopped 10 oz. frozen = 1 1/2 cup sliced 15 oz. can = 8 halves, 1 1/2 cup sliced
Spices Cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg
Suggested Wines Depending on how you prepare your peaches, try serving them with a French Columbard, a Zinfandel Blanc or a Grenache Rose.
Fresh Peach Cobbler
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 4 cups peaches, fresh peeled OR canned and drained
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 cup flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons shortening
- 1/2 cup milk
1. Heat oven to 400F. Mix 1/2 cup sugar, cornstarch and nutmeg in a 2 qt. saucepan. Stir in peaches and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute.
2. Pour into ungreased 2 quart casserole dish. Stir together the flour, baking powder, 1 T sugar and salt. Add the shortening and cut through with a fork until flour clings to shortening. Add milk. Form into a ball. Drop mixture by 6-8 teaspoonfuls onto hot fruit.
3. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until topping is golden brown. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
NOTE: You may substitute any fruit for the peaches, just being careful that the amounts are approximately the same.
Source: Public domain recipes converted from Meal Master format
Shallot and Peach Chutney
- 3 cups peaches, papaya or mango
- 3 ounces shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- 1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
In a large saucepan, combine the peaches (or papaya or mango), shallots, vinegar and lemon juice. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients to pan; simmer, stirring frequently, for 15 minutes. Cool; spoon into refrigerator or freezer containers. Cover and chill. Serve chilled or at room temperature with roasts, barbecued meats, on burgers, or with fish.
Makes 3-1/4 cups (allow about 2 tablespoons per serving).
Peach Nutmeg Scones
by Jennifer A. Wickes
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Sift flour, salt, sugar, nutmeg and baking powder into a bowl.
Add the butter and rub into the flour until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs.
Beat the two eggs, yogurt and almond extract together. Pour into the dry ingredients. Mix until just incorporated.
Gently fold the peach pieces into the mix.
Knead gently on a floured board. Roll out until 1/2″ thick. Using a biscuit cutter, or shape into 8 rounds or triangles.
Place on a baking sheet, and brush with the melted butter. Sprinkle with sugar.
Bake for 20 minutes, until lightly browned and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack. Serve warm.
Yields: 8 scones