A Guide to Summer Stone Fruits

Peaches

Peaches

This fuzzy fruit is actually a member of the rose family. A medium sized peach has 17 percent of the vitamin C you need in a day.

Buy: There are two main varieties of peaches at the market: clingstone (the flesh sticks to the pit) and freestone (the flesh separates easily from the pit). Use your senses when picking peaches -- the best ones have a sweet smell and feel heavy for their size. Squeeze a peach to gauge its ripeness. A ripe fruit will be tender with some give when ready to eat. Peaches vary in color from almost white to deep red, so contrary to popular belief, brightness is not an indication of ripeness.

Store: Keep peaches at room temperature and wash them when ready to eat. To speed up the ripening process, store peaches in a closed brown paper bag. Alternatively, you can store them in the fridge to slow ripening. Remove pits before freezing.

Prepare: You can simply rinse a peach with cold water and dig in, but peaches are extremely versatile. In addition to their usual appearances in desserts and jams, they brighten up salad, hold up on the grill, and taste great when pureed as an addition to drinks and ice cream. To skin a peach you'll start by blanching the fruit: Drop into boiling water for 20 to 30 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and immediately place into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Cut the peach in half and peel the skin away.

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