With Farmer’s Market season in full swing… and as we approach the weekend… I thought it would be a good idea to do a post about Peaches… just a few things to help you decide what will rock your fruit basket and what to avoid.
First… let’s talk about types… there are two main types of peaches… Freestone and Clingstone…
Freestone are what they sound like… they don’t “hang” on to the pit… they easily come apart from the pit when cutting them.
Clingstone.. are also what they sound like.. they “cling” to the pit and are a pain in the butt to cut. So you really want to look for Freestone Peaches if at all possible. Taste between the two should be about equal… it’s just easier to work with Freestones.
If the type of peach isn’t posted… just ask… it’s not a stupid question…don’t be afraid to ask.
What to Look For
Peaches should be slightly soft and sweet smelling… yep… take a whiff… they should smell peachy. Check out the skin… you don’t want soft spots or bruises. They should have a white fuzz on the skin.
You can’t tell much about ripeness by color… except green ones are definitely not ripe… otherwise the colors will depend on the variety.
Peaches won’t ripen after picking … so choose wisely… it’s not a fruit that will ripen when stored.
Do’s and Don’ts
Handle carefully and don’t drop them … place them in a bag or box… they bruise easily.
If shopping at a Farmer’s Market.. if you need help….ask the seller… most are more than happy to answer questions.
How to Store Peaches
They need to be refrigerated. Separate out the softest ones and use them first. The most peaches will keep is a week in the refrigerator vegetable drawer (between 33- 40 degrees F with high humidity).
Quick How To’s
To peel a peach, dip it in boiling water for about 30 seconds, then into ice cold water, the peel should slide off easily. *Do not let them soak in water.
To keep a cut peach from discoloring or darkening, brush with lemon juice.
Quantity Purchasing Guide
Here are some approximate amounts to help you decide what you need for various recipes before you hit the local Farmer’s Market or grocery store:
1 pound peaches = about 3 medium sized peaches
1 pound peaches = about 3 cups sliced
1 pound peaches= 2 – 2 ½ cups chopped
1 pound peaches= about 2 cups pureed
To Freeze or Can?
Freezing is really easy … a lot easier (in my humble opinion) than canning… and I think they really are better frozen than canned… but… the decision is probably best made based on freezer space.
How To Freeze
Seems lots of folks have the “Best Way to Freeze” peaches. Bottom line here… you need to peel them (see how to do that under Quick How To’s)… an place them in freezer bags and freeze them.
Using ascorbic acid (or a citrus juice) to prevent discoloration or browning is recommended by almost everyone… sprinkle a little on all of the fruit. Apparently crushed Vitamin C tablets that contain ascorbic acid will work too.
Better Homes & Gardens… offers 3 ways.. water pack, sugar pack and syrup pack… they provide step by step instructions…
I honestly have been using frozen peaches for … well.. let’s just say.. LOTS of years… and they don’t have sugar added, or syrup and are not in water… they are simply frozen… in my humble opinion, they work the best.
Make sure you use freezer bags or containers made for freezing food in them.
Make it as air tight as possible.
They should last one year from freezing… make sure you label the bag with the date you froze them.
Add Sugar or No Sugar When Freezing? ….
The decision is up to you. I really don’t see any difference in the results other than it adds a sweetener. I personally prefer no sugar… I’d rather add it when I use it… especially since I usually use the peaches in dessert recipes that already have sugar in the ingredient list… this way I don’t have to tinker with quantities when making the recipe.
If you do decide to can… be sure to find instructions from a reliable source and follow them carefully. I’m not into canning at the moment.. maybe someday in my spare time… but not now…
So my best advice is Google search How to Can Peaches and choose a reliable source of information or use instructions found in some cook books.
The Cooperative Extension services also have information… check your local listings for them and contact them for information.
I hope this information has helped you ... and I hope you enjoy eating those luscious peaches!
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