Peaches are native to China. They are believed to have come to Europe via Persia, thus the nickname: Persian Apple.

There are two main varieties: Freestones and Clingstones. Freestones: the pit is free from the fruit. This is more commonly found in supermarkets. Clingstones: the fruit clings to the pit. This peach is used more commercially.

Peach season is May through October.

To choose a peach, check for a strong peach fragrance. The fruit should be firm, yet gives slightly to firm pressure. Due to the fact that peaches bruise easily, avoid any fruit with soft spots.

If you choose a peach, which has not ripened yet, place in a pierced brown paper bag for a couple of days. If you choose to add an apple, the ripening process will increase as apples release a certain gas that aids in other fruits ripening.

Store your peaches in a plastic bag and place in the refrigerator for 5 days. Allow any peach to warm up to room temperature before using.

Peaches are high in Vitamins A and C.

If you need to skin your peach, the best way is to blanch it. Blanching is the process where you place a fruit or vegetable in boiling water for a few seconds, then placing them in iced water to stop the cooking process. When doing this for peaches, they need to boil only for 30 seconds before being placed in the iced water. Once cooled, you can easily peel the skin from the fruit.

If you need to remove the pit, cut around the pit. While holding the fruit, twist the two halves in opposite directions. Use a knife to help loosen the pit from the fruit, and then remove with your

Equivalency 1 lb. Fresh = 4 medium peaches, 2 1/2 cups chopped 1 medium peach = 3/4 cup chopped 10 oz. frozen = 1 1/2 cup sliced 15 oz. can = 8 halves, 1 1/2 cup sliced

Spices Cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg

Suggested Wines Depending on how you prepare your peaches, try serving them with a French Columbard, a Zinfandel Blanc or a Grenache Rose.


Fresh Peach Cobbler

6 Servings

1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 cups peaches, fresh peeled OR canned and drained
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons shortening
1/2 cup milk

1. Heat oven to 400F. Mix 1/2 cup sugar, cornstarch and nutmeg in a 2 qt. saucepan. Stir in peaches and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute.

2. Pour into ungreased 2 quart casserole dish. Stir together the flour, baking powder, 1 T sugar and salt. Add the shortening and cut through with a fork until flour clings to shortening. Add milk. Form into a ball. Drop mixture by 6-8 teaspoonfuls onto hot fruit.

3. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until topping is golden brown. Serve
with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

NOTE: You may substitute any fruit for the peaches, just being careful that the amounts are approximately the same.

Source: Public domain recipes converted from Meal Master format

Shallot and Peach Chutney

26 Servings

3 cups peaches, papaya or mango
3 ounces shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a large saucepan, combine the peaches (or papaya or mango), shallots, vinegar and lemon juice. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients to pan; simmer, stirring frequently, for 15 minutes. Cool; spoon into refrigerator or freezer containers. Cover and hill.
Serve chilled or at room temperature with roasts, barbecued meats, on burgers, or with fish.

Makes 3-1/4 cups (allow about 2 tablespoons per serving).

Recipe from the shallot package from "Frieda of California".

Source: Public domain recipes converted from Meal Master format

This article was originally published at Suite 101.

Jennifer Wickes is the editor at "Cookbook Reviews" and "Cooking With The Seasons", which has been voted to be one of the Top 100 Culinary Sites on the Internet! For more information about Jennifer Wickes or her columns, please go to: