Peaches: Smart Storage
Peaches, I love ‘em all! Cling and freestone, white and yellow … they are the juiciest, most luscious fruit of summer.
Once we received a case of handpicked Southern peaches as a gift from a brother, and those were the ripest and very best we’d ever eaten.
So how can you tell if a peach will ripen sweetly when they are rock-hard at the store? I will let you in on my little secret. Look at the stem end of each peach. If it is red to the stem, it will ripen in a few days and be sweet left on your kitchen counter (don’t refrigerate fresh peaches). If the stem is yellow, put it back. Oh yes, use your nose, too; you should be able to smell a fruity aroma. No smell, put it back. This method also works for nectarines.
If you are lucky enough to be in peach growing country, no doubt the peaches will be available tree-ripened and at their best. So after you have made that delectable peach pie, shortcake, and ice cream, you’ll probably want to keep some peaches for later on in the year.
To freeze peaches, you need to plunge them in boiling water, then chill in ice water. Peel, stone and thickly slice. They go brown in freezing, so you’ll need powdered ascorbic acid to keep their color. It’s not rocket science; just a crushed 500 mg. tablet of vitamin C! Dissolve it in water and toss the peaches with it, then pack the slices in sealable airtight bags or containers.
After the early fall, fresh peaches never are good again until the next summer. Their texture is off, and even with my secret, they just don’t taste peachy. So my advice: savor the season while you can!
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