Peaches are delicious and yum! Don’t you think? Here is a new way to enjoy the delicious fruit! This I made when I picked up a bit more than we could finish.
Peaches, contrary to popular belief the peach (Prunus persica) a deciduous( that is it sheds its leaves annually) tree is native to Northwest China, in the region between the Tarim Basin and the north slopes of the Kunlun Shan mountains, where it was first domesticated and cultivated. The scientific name persica, along with the word “peach” itself and its cognates in many European languages, derives from an early European belief that peaches were native to Persia. The Ancient Romans referred to the peach as malum persicum “Persian apple”, later becoming French pêche, hence the English “peach”.
The peach is in the same family as the cherry and plum, in the family Rosaceae. The peach is classified with the almond in the subgenus Amygdalus, distinguished from the other subgenera by the corrugated seed shell. Peaches, along with cherries, plums and apricots, are stone fruits (drupes).
Since the peach’s flowers are produced in early spring before the leaves the ancient Chinese believed the peach to possess more vitality than any other tree because their blossoms appear before leaves sprout. The flowers are solitary or paired, 2.5–3 cm diameter, pink, with five petals.
The fruit has yellow or whitish flesh, a delicate aroma, and a skin that is either velvety (peaches) or smooth (nectarines) in different cultivars. The flesh is very delicate and easily bruised in some. There are various heirloom varieties, including the Indian peach, which arrives in the latter part of the summer. Peach and nectarines are the same species, even though they are regarded commercially as different fruits. In contrast to peaches, whose fruits present the characteristic fuzz on the skin, nectarines are characterized by the absence of fruit-skin trichomes (fuzz-less fruit); it’s all in their genes baby!
Cultivated peaches are divided into clingstones and freestones, depending on whether the flesh sticks to the stone or not; both can have either white or yellow flesh. Peaches with white flesh typically are very sweet with little acidity, while yellow-fleshed peaches typically have an acidic tang coupled with sweetness, though this also varies greatly. Both colours often have some red on their skin. Low-acid white-fleshed peaches are the most popular kinds in China, Japan, and neighbouring Asian countries, while Europeans and North Americans have historically favoured the acidic, yellow-fleshed kinds. (Courtesy Wikipedia)
But I want to buy my peaches. How Do I go about it without being cheated by unscrupulous vendors that abound my markets?
Thanks to thekitchn.com I have a ready reckoner that I plan to follow, the first two are impossible for me but they are a good guide.
- Buy local peaches. Peaches are not bitten by the travel bug so closer home is the answer.
- Taste them. Again not in my markets. Not only is the hygiene in question I doubt even my regular vendor will cut up an expensive fruit just to satisfy me. He will set up a precedence he would rather not start. And who knows I may pick a fruit that not sweet and refuse to buy. Bad publicity!
- Look for colour first. I generally go by aroma, but apparently since I am many times stuck with a fruit that is so sour that even I cannot eat it ( I love sour by the way, it’s a flavour I live for) , I am wrong thekitchn.com says colour is an indicator . Peaches should have vibrant tones and colours. The leaf sometimes shields a part of the peach so there might be some parts of it that received less sunlight (making that part lighter in colour). Just make sure that those parts don’t have any green tones, which is a sign that the peach was picked too early.
- Start (gently) squeezing. Peaches get sweeter and juicier as they ripen. Squeezing them will tell you what stage they’re at. Gently press or squeeze the shoulder and tip (where the stem was) – if it just starts to give, it’s ripe and ready to eat. If the peach is still firm, it’s great if you like crunchy peaches or want to toss them into salads since they’ll hold up better. To eat over a period of time, you will buy varying degrees of ripeness to match your eating timeline.
- Store them carefully. At home, store them at room temperature shoulder (stem) side down, preferably in a single layer to avoid bruising. If the peaches ripen before you get to them, they can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple more days, but eat them before they start to get wrinkly, which is a sign that they’re starting to dry out.
Now for the Peach Granita that we enjoyed was made from Tarla Dalal’s something that I had copied ages ago!