When selecting and storing, follow these tips:
- When selecting peaches, smell the fruit. The peach is a member of the rose family and should have a pleasingly sweet fragrance.
- Look for a creamy gold to yellow under color. The red or “blush” of a peach is an indication of variety, not ripeness.
- Peaches should be soft to the touch but not mushy. Don’t squeeze peaches; they bruise easily.
- Place firm peaches on the counter at room temperature and they will ripen within a few days.
- Promptly refrigerate ripe peaches, and eat them within a week of purchase.
- To peel a peach, dip it into boiling water for 30 seconds, then in cold water. The peel should slide off easily.
- To keep sliced peaches from darkening, add lemon juice or ascorbic acid.
When freezing, peaches should be ripe and soft but not mushy. Wash peaches thoroughly in cold water (ice water is preferable for keeping the fruit firm). Peel and slice a small amount at a time, mixing about 1 teaspoon ascorbic acid (available at grocery and drug stores – is not harmful and will not affect the taste of the fruit) with 1 cup sugar, then sprinkle over sliced peaches. Pack in air tight containers or jars (suitable for freezing), and fill to 3/4 full, then freeze.