Ah, the smell and taste of summer peaches - what could be better! Peaches are one of summer's favorite fruits. Hundreds of peach cultivars are known, both white flesh and yellow flesh, and you'll find many varieties at your farmers' market with interesting names such as Arctic Snow, Bonanza, Arctic Supreme, Fay Elberta, and O'Henry. All of these peaches, and many others, have sweet, luscious peach flavor and amazing aroma.
Purchase peaches in the ripeness needed - in other words, softer if you will eat them right away, or a bit firmer if you won't prepare them for a couple of days. They should give slightly to the touch, have no greenish tinge around the stem, and have a good color and aroma. To ripen at home, simple place on the counter for a day or two. When ripened, place in the refrigerator in the produce bin. Eat as soon as possible, but be sure to bring them to room temperature before eating.
Peaches are versatile and easily prepared - in fact, the simpler the preparation, the more flavor comes through. Just purchased a big bag of peaches at your farmers' market? Here are some great ways to use them.
- Toss summer peaches on the grill. Just cut in half, remove the seed and toss on the grill for about 7 minutes.
- Slice in salads.
- Make a batch of homemade peach jam.
- Get out Grandma's peach pie or cobbler recipe.
- Make a peach salsa with peppers and cilantro.
- Simmer into a sauce for chicken or pork.