Peaches

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.

Varieties

  • 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.

Purchasing

  • 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.

Storage

  • 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.

Preparation/Cooking

  • Prevent discolouration by sprinkling freshly cut peaches with a few drops of lemon or lime juice.

Tips

  • 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.

Peach Recipes

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