Whether you're a CSA devotee, a farmers' market weekender or consider ketchup a veg, we'll bring you fresh inspiration for how to prepare our local produce.
This week's harvest: Peaches
The last two weeks of May, you can hear our collective groans over the tender sweet juicy drippy peach harvest. We wanted to celebrate our great fortune to be able to grow such prized fruit in Phoenix. We're going all out and sharing some of our favorite ways to enjoy peaches.
When are they in season?
May through August (depending on where the trees are located in the state). For the Valley, the last 2 weeks of May is the prime time.
Selecting, cleaning and storage tips:
When you're out at Schnepf's, your favorite farmers' market, the supermarket (AJ's is now carrying Schnepf peaches), or your neighbor's backyard, bring your smeller to help choose primo fruit. Be a peach lover with a slow hand, each touch. Sure, you want to know if they're ripe or not but shoving your fingers in them is not a great way to treat the fruit you're taking home, the fruit you leave on the trees or at the market that will be enjoyed by other folks at a later time. It bruises the fruit and that ain't polite or delicious. So use your senses and smarts to choose smooth floral sweet smelling fruit that is just ripe and not rock hard. Be extra careful when taking your peaches home too, they can get banged around with other heavy objects, including other peaches. Please, treat them with respect. These are the Faberge eggs of the fruit world. They are amazing and so worth it.
They will ripen on your counter but make sure to eat them right when they're ready, do not pass go, collect $200 or wait to eat your peaches because they won't wait for you. You could extend the life a bit by putting them in the fridge for a few days but make sure to bring them back to room temperature to take that first blissful bite.
Peach Bellini Bridal and baby shower season require these perfect Italian cocktails. Make it with non-alcoholic champagne for the designated drivers and future mommas.
Prociutto Wrapped Peaches
Sorry Mr. Melon, peaches in this meat blanket are what we want right now. We'll get to you in next few months.
Individual Peach Clafoutis
Make an extra for me, please
Looooove these candies.
Preserving the harvest is another smart way to enjoy peaches at a later date. Slice and freeze for smoothies or cobbler. Boil with sugar and can them for the most delectable buttered toast topping.
Jennifer Woods is a local food advocate with over 10 years working in the AZ food industry, and currently works for Crooked Sky Farms, a CSA produce farm based in South Phoenix.