Best Picks: The Luscious O'Henry Peach

Best Picks: The Luscious O'Henry Peach
Posted August 19, 2015

There are more than 2,000 peach varieties throughout the world, but here in California, late August is the time to pick up some O'Henry peaches. This late summer peach is a sensory delight with a sweet juicy flavor, a deep orange red outer skin with peaking tones of orange underneath, and inner flesh of light orange streaked with red and with a smooth texture.  The skin has less fuzz and can be eaten without peeling. It is a favorite of many peach lovers because of its slightly acidic sweetness, without the cloying heavy sweetness of some varieties of peaches.

It is a freestone peach, meaning that when cut open, the pit comes easily away from the flesh. It's an excellent peach for canning and for jams because of its complex flavor that holds up well when cooked. It is also a firm peach that stands up to canning. Its natural sweetness mixed with its slight acid flavor means you can use less sugar when canning - and that's a good thing! It also makes a great pie because it slices well and and offers complex flavors.  Once peeled, it freezes well and can be used up to six months later.
Widely grown commercially in California, these peaches are a winner for taste, texture, and usability. Pick some up at your local farmers' market real soon because the season for these spectacular peaches is short, running only through September.
Here are some quick and easy ways to enjoy luscious O'Henry peaches:
  1. Salad: Peel, pit, and toss with spinach, pecans, mild goat cheese, and a light vinaigrette.
  2. Grill: Toss pitted peach halves on the grill for about 5 to 10 minutes, serve with whipping cream or vanilla ice cream for a fresh dessert.
  3. Can It: Get out the canning jars and fill with peeled peach quarters in very light syrup. Enjoy a taste of summer in the cold winter months!
  4. Mixed Fruit: Toss with other late summer fruits such as berries, plums, and grapes. Add a tablespoon of lemon juice (to avoid fruit discoloration) and just a touch of sugar or honey.
  5. Peach Pie! And last but not least, make a peach pie! Get out the family cookbook and fill that pie shell with luscious O'Henry peaches!

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