Peaches are one of, if not, my favorite fruits. I get excited when I see early Georgia Peaches in the market and I'm disappointed when I see the last of the local peaches leave. I haven't found a way I don't like them. Sweet or savory, baked or unbaked, folded into ice creams or just plain, they are my fruit of choice.
I wish markets would label the peaches as to their variety as they do apples. Red Havens are my favorite but unless I go to my local pick-your-own orchard, I can't find them. But the real culprit with peaches is what type they are - freestone or clingstone. I found this description from Allrecipes to be a good explanation of these two types.
"What Are Freestone Peaches?
Freestone, or cling-free peaches refer to fruit where the flesh is not attached to the pit. When you cut or bite into these peaches, you can reach in and remove the pit easily, making them a pleasure both to eat out of hand, and for cooking, baking and canning, since they are easy to prep. Freestone peaches tend to show up later in the season, between mid-June and mid-August.
What Are Clingstone Peaches?
Clingstone peaches refer to peaches where the flesh is attached to the pit. These peaches are ideal for eating, but less desirable for cooking, baking or canning projects, since they are difficult to prep. Cutting the delicate flash from the pit can bruise or damage it, which will create oxidation in the fruit, or browning. Clingstone peaches are usually the first peaches available in the growing season, ripening between mid-May and early June."
Truer words were never spoken!
How I Peel my Peaches
There are two ways to get the skin off the peach. I use the one that is least damaging to the peach. Peeling the peaches can remove some of the flesh of the peach which is why I don't use this method.
My preferred method is to submerge them in boiling water for several minutes during which time the peel will loosen from the flesh. A quick dip in cold water and the peel comes right off leaving the peach in tact. The one caveat with this method to work is the peach must be ripe.
Removing the Pits or Stones
After peeling the peach, cut through the peach, top to bottom and open up. If the peaches are freestone, the pits can easily be removed. If not, I usually cut the pit or stone out. Otherwise, the peach can be almost destroyed trying to remove it by pulling it out.
There's even a recipe on Kitchn that shares what to do with those pits.
Another one that I am dying to try is from One Ash Homestead. It uses the peels and pits to make Peach Jelly.
Keeping the Peaches from Oxidizing
Peaches, like other fruits will oxidize if left uncovered after peeling and slicing. Immediately after peeling and slicing, place plastic wrap directly on top and refrigerate. This usually works for a day or so.
What I like to do is use the boiling water method to skin the peaches, then immediately wrap each one tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate. This keeps them from browning for several days.
Now after you've peeled the peaches, here's a few ideas for what to do with them!