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Peaches

Everyday Food, July/August 2004

Who knew there were so many ways to enjoy a peach? From salads to chutneys to desserts, here's how to make the most of this juicy, fragrant fruit.

What to Look For
July and August are prime time for peaches. Choose fruit with a fragrant aroma and flesh that yields a bit when pressed gently. If a peach has cuts or tan spots, or if it's rock-hard or mushy, don't buy it. Color has more to do with variety than ripeness. Peaches that are tinged with green, however, are usually underripe. For the best flavor, look for locally grown, tree-ripened peaches.

How to Ripen
Place peaches in a paper bag with an apple. Keep them at room temperature until they're ready, and check them frequently.

How to Store
Ripe peaches are best eaten right away, but you can refrigerate them for three to five days.

How to Peel
Blanch
Bring a large pot of water to a boil; reduce to a simmer. Add the peaches, and simmer 1 minute.

Shock
Transfer peaches with a slotted spoon to a large bowl of ice water; let soak until the skins begin to wrinkle, about 5 minutes.

Peel
With your fingers, gently rub off skins. If skins are hard to remove, cut them away with a paring knife.