July 26th 2009

Market fresh peaches are here

Heading over to the market at this time of year can be a delight – all the fruits and vegetables waiting to be tasted, explored and enjoyed. And just freshly picked, too.Peaches are abundant this time of year, a sweet, juicy taste that pales to comparison from anything imported.

Peaches 101
Peaches come in many varieties, with skins ranging from white to yellowish- brown and succulent flesh that’s either a rich yellow, deep gold, reddish-orange or white. The skins are soft and fuzzy, and the fruit has a large pit in the middle.

We’re most familiar with clingstone, freestone, or semi-freestone varieties. Clingstones include pits that cling to the flesh of the peach, and freestones are easily separated from the flesh. Semi-freestones are hybrids of both types, with an easily detachable pit.

Buying and Storing
Peaches are sold fresh, canned and frozen. When choosing them, opt for the most fragrant with a  yellow or cream background and no bruising. Avoid fruit that is overly firm or greenish in colour.

To ripen peaches effectively, keep them in a brown paper bag for up to 3 days. If they are soft to the touch and fragrant, then they are ready. You can slow down the ripening process by keeping them in the fridge, but they taste best when at room temperature.

Preparation
Wash thoroughly, then rub them with a paper towel to de-fuzz. Peel if desired. Like apples, peaches can quickly discolour when exposed to air, so sprinkle with lemon to slow down the process.

Peach-Raspberry Pie

For the dough:

2 cups flour of choice
1/4 tsp salt (omit if using salted butter)
1 cup butter or non-dairy equivalent, cut into pieces and chilled
3 tbsp ice cold water
1 tbsp lemon juice

For the filling:

8 peaches, peeled and sliced
2 cups raspberries
1/2 cup sucanat or sugar
3 tbsp flour of choice
1 tsp lime zest
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 tbsp butter or equivalent
milk (or non-dairy equivalent)for brushing
2 tbsp sucanat

For the dough: In a food processor, combine flour and salt, then add in butter, pulsing until the mixture resembles a course meal.

Mix together water with lemon juice; with the processor running, add to flour, and blend until dough just comes together.

Shape the into a disc and chill for 30 minutes or more.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Divide dough in half, and on a lightly floured surface,  roll out one half to about 1/4″ thick. Line a 9-inch pie pan with pastry leaving edges overhanging. Chill while preparing filling.

For the filling: Toss peaches and berries with sucanat, flour, lime zest, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pour into prepared pan and dot with butter/equivalent.

Roll out the second piece of dough to 1/4″ thick. Top pie, then trim edges, leaving an inch hanging over. Turn bottom crust over edges and crimp together with your fingers.

Brush pie with milk and sprinkle with sucanat.

Bake for 40-50 minutes on a baking sheet until golden brown.

Let cool slightly and enjoy, or serve chilled.

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As a musicologist, writer, personal fitness trainer and food-enthusiast, Laurie just can't decide what she likes best - so she does them all. She is also the editor of Ecoki.com, an eco-lifestyle community bringing you all things green.