Yeah! Peaches are officially in season!
Second to strawberries, peaches are my favorite fruit grown in Louisiana. Fresh peaches are best enjoyed from late June to early August, so get them while the getting is especially good.
When you’re selecting your peaches, avoid any that are slightly green or under-ripe. Look for those that are slightly tender and have a fragrant smell. Peaches will get softer and juicier after you bring them home, but they aren’t likely to get much sweeter.
Keep peaches unwashed and in a smooth bowl (even their container can bruise their delicate flesh) at room temperature until you’re ready to cook or eat them.
Blanching peaches first will make them easier to peel. Remove the stems, then score an “x” at the bottom of the peaches. Place them in a pot of boiling water, enough to cover them completely, for about 30 seconds. Then put the hot peaches into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Once the peaches are cool, peel and prepare according to your recipe.
If you aren’t cooking them right away, toss your peeled peaches in a few tablespoons of citrus juice to keep them from turning brown and store them in the refrigerator. To freeze, place the peach slices on a cookie sheet and pop them into the freezer until frozen, then store them in containers or bags.
Because peach season is fairly short, I suggest you buy a half-peck (about a dozen peaches) or two at the farmers market and freeze them for later.
These recipes for cobbler and a tart are a couple of my favorites for fresh-from-the-market peaches. Of course, if you don’t feel like cooking, enjoying our Louisiana peaches can be as easy as spooning a few slices over homemade vanilla ice cream.
Happy peach season!
Teresa B. Day is a local food writer and author of the “I Eat BR” blog. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.