The ultimate guide to seasonal peaches
Now that peach season is in full-swing, we’ve created a cheat sheet with everything you need to know about selecting, storing, and cooking with everyone’s favourite stone fruit.
Types of peaches grown in Canada:
Clingstone peaches: Clingstone peaches are sweet and have soft, juicy flesh that clings to the pit. Clingstone peaches are ideal for eating on their own and for making preserves.
Freestone peaches: Freestone peaches are named for their soft flesh, which pulls away from the pit easily. Freestone peaches are slightly less sweet than clingstone peaches and are particularly tasty when baked into pies and other desserts or used for canning.
Semi-freestone peaches: Semi-freestone peaches share traits from both clingstone and freestone peaches. Their sweet flesh makes them a good choice for eating fresh, baking and as a base for preserves and fresh salsa.
Choosing and storing peaches:
Peaches grown in Canada are in-season beginning in late-July and continuing through until the end of August. When selecting peaches, look for smooth, unblemished skin without green patches or wrinkles. The actual colouring on the skin isn’t indicative of how ripe the peaches are and if you do happen to have any firm peaches they’ll continue to ripen if left out on the counter, out of direct sunlight, for a day or two. Store ripe, unwashed peaches in the crisper drawer for up to one week. For best flavour, bring the fruit to room temperature and wash just before serving.
Tips for cooking with peaches:
Remove peach skin: To quickly and easily remove peach skin, bring a large stock pot full of water to boil. Make a small “x” incision at the base of the peach and drop in the boiling water for 30-60 seconds (you can add several peaches at once, just allow the water to come back to boil before setting the timer.) Remove the peaches from the water using a slotted spoon and let cool for a few minutes before peeling the blistered skin from the peach flesh.
To prevent browning: Sliced peaches oxidize quickly when exposed to air, causing them to turn brown. Although the peaches are still perfectly edible, you can prevent this discolouration by dipping the peach slices in an acidic solution such as lemon, lime, orange or pineapple juice.
Cold drinks made with perfect peaches
Whether you’re adding peach puree to a glass of bubbly or making it the base of an energizing smoothie, nothing says “summer celebratory drink” more than the addition of fresh or frozen peaches. Peel and freeze your own peaches on a baking sheet to use throughout the year or take advantage of fresh-picked and flash-frozen fruit from the freezer case.
Breakfasts with peach-appeal
Enjoy a sunny beginning to every morning by adding fresh peaches to traditional breakfast fare. Oats, granola, and nuts are natural pairings with peaches, and they can be stirred into muffin or pancake batter with delicious results. Feel free to substitute other stone fruit, such as nectarines or plums, for the peaches called for in these recipes.
Savoury peach-filled salads and mains
The natural sweetness of peaches makes them an ideal accompaniment to savoury dishes, especially those featuring contrasting flavours. Peppery arugula, salty prosciutto, grilled meat, and freshly chopped herbs are only a handful of ingredients you’ll want to pair with peaches; the recipes below feature peaches with a wide range of contrasting flavours and textures. Assemble a summery main meal in under 5 minutes with a platter of halved peaches and tomatoes, fresh mozzarella or burrata, fresh basil, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.
Try these savoury pretty-as-a-peach mains:
There’s no shortage of possibilities when it comes to dessert recipes that have been festooned with fresh peaches; pies, cobblers, and shortcake are just the beginning when it comes to sweet possibilities and peaches. Of course, when it comes to in-season peaches, sometimes the only addition needed is a scoop of vanilla frozen yogurt.