“An apple is an excellent thing – until you have tasted a peach.”
George du Maurier
Juicy with tips, tricks and holistic life hacks, this is the guide to one of our most beloved seasonal summer fruits: peaches!
Life gets even sweeter with these juicy superfoods. But as any peach enthusiast would preach: you haven’t tasted a peach until you’ve tasted one in season and locally grown.
This Monday I did my weekly produce overhaul at Overholt Farms and happened upon a display of perfectly plump peaches freshly picked from the orchard. Sweet and fragrant (and admittedly the golden colour of our yard), these stone fruits are guaranteed to be staples of my counter-top through the upcoming months and sneak their humble way into most of our dishes.
As we dash to our local farmer’s market, here are my top tips and tricks to get the most out of a season that’s just … peachy!
Grow/Pick Your Own
- As a child, we used to have a peach tree in our backyard that one year filled our kitchen, overflowed into the garage and trickled down into the basement with boxes bursting with these sweet fruits. I would run outside, stand on my tip toes and grasp the branch, plucking one loose and take a big, organic, mouthful of the juiciest, most flavourful peaches I have ever tasted!
- As with all fruits, they are sweetest when picked ripe off the tree. And though this tree is long gone, we reside in the fruit belt of Niagara which is bursting with local peach trees this time of the year.
- Holistic Life Hacks: It is wonderful to visit the local farms for peaches, but going to the orchard to pick them yourself is best. Picking them fully ripened means there’s no wait to eat them (the most challenging part of any overhaul) and yields the juiciest, most flavourful and also the most nutritious fruit!
Opt For Seconds
- This is not in the sense of treating yourself to a second helping, though I am in full support of that too. “Seconds” are the peaches that don’t make the cut. They may have a small bruise, or indent and therefore won’t be found on display at the fruit stand. However, these peaches are just as juicy and delicious and are sold for much cheaper!
- HLH: Ask for seconds at the fruit stand. They may be hidden behind the counter or you may have to take a mini drive/walk to pick them up.
Sift Through The Seasons
- Peaches are my all time favourite fruit, but I won’t dare purchase one in the winter. When consumed in season, as nature intended, these fruits with have significantly higher antioxidant contents, are at their peak of flavour and texture and may have up to three times the nutritional content of their out-of-season counterpart!
- HLH: The best peaches are found during the middle of peak season. If you do get ones with a taste of texture that seems “off,”(particularly near the beginning or end of the season), don’t toss them! These are perfect to freeze and throw into a shake or make a baked good or peach applesauce.
Get Dirty Or Go Clean
- As part of the dirty dozen, peaches are highly sprayed with chemical pesticides. Though we live in the fruit belt, tracking down a local, organic grower isn’t easy pickings. If your produce is conventional, remove the skins to eliminate the contamination of the outer layers of pesticides that cling to the fuzzy exterior.
What’s In A Label?
- To become organically certified is an expensive endeavour. For this reason,many small, locally run farms skip the certification, even though they don’t follow conventional practices. Though they cannot say that they are officially organic, you can get around this by asking if they spray their produce with pesticides and if they try to abide by organic standards of growing.
Fast Track The Ripening
- Though an optimal opportunity to exercise our patience, peaches will ripen quicker in a paper bag. Add an apple which emits ethylene gases and you’re well on your way to a perfectly ripe peach!
To our peachy keen seasonal Sundays,