Summer is here! And the farmers markets are bustling and packed to the brim with all the fresh produce you can carry home with you. In Winter, there are a lot of great options, but not like summer. In Summer, there almost too many options of produce to try, to say nothing of the heirloom varieties of fruits and veggies. Out of all the choices available, however, there is nothing like a sun blushed, perfectly ripe peach, or its cousin the nectarine.
Peaches originate from China, their ancestors being smaller and more tart. Through the years, they made their way across Europe, and eventually ended up here in America where they took particularly well to the hot summer sun in Georgia,..I do have to say though, California gives Georgia a run for its money.
Peaches are one of the things that make summer special, particularly because there is a limited time to enjoy them fresh, their season being fairly short. Now remember how I was talking about the blush on the side of the peach? Well the presence of the blush doesn’t necessarily mean that the peach is ripe. The blush just appears where the fruit had the most contact with the sun. Peaches are best ripe straight from the tree, so if you have access to an orchard, take advantage while you can. In most stores, however, they arrive underripe. Suppliers do this to extend the shelf life since peaches in their ripened state don’t last long…a day or two at the most.
When buying a peach, I always follow my nose. Don’t squeeze the peach please, as this can bruise the fruit. Instead, smell! The ones that smell the best will taste the best. If the peach isn’t ripe, leave it out of the fridge for a day or so until it is tender. I have heard of putting the fruit in a paper bag with an avocado or banana. These fruits give off natural ethylene gas which can be used to ripen other fruits and vegetables. I wouldn’t do this though. Rushing a peach will only stop it from reaching its full flavor potential. If you ripen your fruit on the counter, put the fruit on a tea towel to give it as much a cushion as possible. They are so delicate that they will bruise even under their own weight.
So , I could go on for much longer, but for now don’t miss out on one of the most amazing things you may ever eat.