PlacerGROWN: Peaches Are In Season
The luscious peach originated in China and began to travel the world through trade routes, arriving in Louisiana and Florida in the 1500s. California’s climate, particularly the Sierra foothills, is ideal for growing the fruit; in fact, 50 percent of peaches grown in the U.S. come from California.
WHAT’S IN SEASON: PEACHES
DID YOU KNOW?
Allowed to ripen on the tree, peaches gain maximum sugar content before being harvested. Those picked too soon and kept in cold storage will soften and get juicier but will only have the amount of sugar they had when picked. This is one of the main reasons peaches at the markets sell so quickly, because their flavor is perfect the moment you buy them. Varieties can either be clingstone, where the fruit clings to the stone (typically used for canning), or freestone, where the flesh readily twists away from the pit; both types are available with white or golden flesh. Nectarines are a variety of peach with a smooth skin, not a cross between a peach and a plum.
Peaches are a good source of Vitamin C, potassium, and fiber, among other things.
SELECTION AND STORAGE
Choose peaches with a rich color that may still have a slight whitish “bloom” on their surface indicating freshness. Avoid fruit with excessive softness, surface cuts, and bruises. A ripe peach will have a gentle give when touched with a sweet aroma. Peaches can be kept in the refrigerator but should be brought up to room temperature before eating. As with apples, sliced peaches will turn brown after cutting, but you can lessen this by rinsing the slices in water mixed with lemon juice. White-fleshed peaches are sweeter and less acidic than their more traditional golden counterpart.
RECIPE: Grilled Peaches with Bacon, Blue Cheese, and Basil
Recipe by Courtney McDonald
3 large firm-ripe yellow freestone peaches
6 slices bacon, cooked to your liking
3 tbsp. high-quality olive oil
3 oz. salty blue cheese, such as Bleu d’Auvergne or Roquefort
1/4 cup torn fresh basil leaves
Preheat grill to medium-high. While grill is heating, wash the peaches, cut in half, and remove the pit. Brush the cut side of the peaches with 2 tbsp. olive oil and grill, cut side down first, until dark caramelized grill marks form—about 2 minutes. Flip the peaches over and grill on the skin side just to heat through, about 30 seconds. Transfer the grilled peaches to a serving platter and top each peach with 1/2 slice of bacon, crumbled blue cheese, torn basil leaves, and a final drizzle of olive oil. Serve immediately. Serves 6.