Monday, July 11, 2016

Slice and Dice: Peaches

Basket with fresh peaches next to blueberries and raspberries


I grew up in Illinois peach country. So for me, summer isn’t summer until I feel the juice of a freshly picked peach trickling down my chin. I’ll sit through any meal that promises the possibility of peach cobbler. When the fruit is in season, I plop it in pie, layer it in tartlets, and tuck it in turnovers.

How to Select

A member of the rose family, fresh peaches should have a fragrant, sweet smell. Their flesh should be full-bodied and firm, but willingly give way to a gentle squeeze. Beware of fruit with bruised flesh and wrinkled or loose skin.

Peaches are labeled as freestone or clingstone based on the clinginess of their stone and the firmness of their flesh. Freestone stone peaches have stones that can be easily removed. The flesh of clingstone peaches grasps onto the seed, making it difficult to pull the two apart. Clingstone peaches are sought out by commercial canners for their firmer flesh. Therefore, they are rarely available.
Like strawberries, peaches are on The Environmental Working Group’s dirty dozen list of foods with the most pesticide residue. To reduce your exposure to contamination, be sure they're organic.

How to Pit

To pit a freestone peach or other stone fruit (nectarines, apricots, plums), follow these simple steps:

Thoroughly wash and dry the peach.Place it on a cutting board with the stem side facing up. With a chef’s knife, cut into the stem side until you reach the stone. 


Cutting into the stem end of a peach


Rotate the peach and continue to cut into the flesh until you’ve circles the entire peach.


Cutting around the peach stone


Place your hands other either side of the cut flesh and gently pull the fruit apart.


Gently twisting two halves of a peach apart

Using your fingertips, wiggle out the stone.


Wriggling out the peach stone

To  pit a clingstone peach:

Place the peach on a cutting board with the side of the peach resting on the board. Hold the peach in place with one hand. With a chef’s knife, cut a wedge from the peach and pull it away from the seed. Rotate the peach and continue until all the flesh has been sliced into wedges and pulled off of the seed.

How to Slice

Pit the peach using the steps outlined above.

Place one half of the peach on a cutting board with the cut side down.


Slicing peaches into different sized wedges


With a chef’s knife, slice the peach lengthwise the desired width.

How to Chop

Pit the peach using the steps outlined above.

Place one half of the peach on a cutting board with the cut side down.


With a chef’s knife, slice the peach lengthwise.


Slicing a peach lengthwise


Cut the slices widthwise to form chunks.


Cutting wedges into rough chunks


Cups of fruit salad with peaches, blueberries, and raspberries

This article was originally published on WholeFoodsMarketCooking.com


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