Peach

Peach

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From
Encyclopedia of Food and Cookery

A delicious fruit, which may be white or yellow-fleshed, and a slipstone (the fruit readily separates from the stone) or clingstone (the fruit clings to the stone). Peaches are with us from early summer until autumn, one of the great joys of these months, and very welcome if they are perfectly ripe and slightly chilled.

Like many other fruits, the peach is thought to have originated in China and to have been introduced to Europe by way of Persia (Iran). The best known are probably elberta and hale, both of which are large, yellow-fleshed slipstone peaches, ideal for eating fresh or for cooking.

Any surplus of peaches may be made into jam or frozen, but canning or home-bottling is the most popular way of preserving them for year-round enjoyment. Tinned peaches may be halved or sliced, in heavy or light syrup or in a fruit nectar; they may be substituted for fresh cooked peaches in most recipes.

Peaches combine nicely with other summer fruits in fruit salad or compote. Sliced fresh peaches covered with passionfruit pulp make an elegantly simple and most delicious dessert. And in a different context, peaches highlight the flavour of meat and poultry; serve with grilled (broiled) ham steaks and roast duck.

To peel peaches: Pour boiling water over peaches; leave to stand for 1–3 minutes. Skins will loosen and slip off easily. If peaches are really ripe, skin may be rubbed off without boiling water treatment.

Sprinkle peaches with lemon juice to prevent discolouration if they are not to be cooked or eaten immediately.

To poach peaches: Peel peaches as above, halve or slice. Prepare syrup, using 110 g sugar for every 250 ml of water. Add peaches to hot syrup to cover, simmer very gently for 3–5 minutes, cool in syrup. If desired, remove peaches with slotted spoon, reduce syrup over high heat, then pour over cooked peaches. Chill.

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