by Kate Heyhoe
Native to China, the peach is a soft, juicy fruit with yellow or white flesh and downy, red-tinted, yellow or white skin and is in peak season from May to October.In clingstone peaches, the large, brown pit adheres to the meat and must be cut away. Freestone peaches have a pit that falls away easily from the flesh. Peaches may be eaten with the skin, but it is usually removed when cooking or baking with peaches. Peaches are ripe when slightly soft to the touch. Avoid peaches with bruises and soft spots.
To peel a peach, plunge it into boiling water for 30 seconds, then submerge it in an ice water bath. The skin can then be easily peeled using a paring knife. Or, use a vegetable peeler with a swivel blade, but move it back and forth in a sawing motion to get it started and then continue in a gentle sawing motion as you work your way down.
Ripen peaches by placing them in a paper bag with a few holes poked in it and close the top. Leave them unrefrigerated and check them every day, as they ripen quickly using this method. Add an apple, which gives off ethylene gas, to the bag to speed up the process.
This page originally published as a Global Gourmet Today column in 1998.
Copyright © 2007, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.
This page modified January 2007
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