Talk to your fruit seller when looking for the right peach

The tree fruit industry in British Columbia has about 400 commercial growers who farm about 15,000 acres of apples, pears, cherries, peaches, nectarines, apricots and plums.

The peach is a member of the rose family. It is a cousin of apricots, cherries, plums and almonds. Choose peaches by smelling them. They should have a delicate fruity aroma. They will yield to gentle pressure when ripe but they are very delicate so don’t squeeze too hard.

A fragrant peach is a good sign, but colour is a better indicator of quality. They should have a vibrant colour. Any green tones tell us that it was picked too early. However, they will ripen at room temperature in a cool, dark place.

When ripe, they can be kept for a couple more days in the refrigerator.

Peaches are classified as either freestone or clingstone. As the names suggest, the difference is how the fruit releases from the stone. If one peach tastes better than another, it’s because the variety is good, not necessarily because it fell off the pit.

There are a variety of cultivars and most orchardists plant several to ensure harvest throughout the summer. Each will ripen at a different time.

The best way to select the right peach for your needs is to chat with the orchardist at a farmers market. They know exactly which variety they have at the moment and what is coming up. If you want them for canning, the freestone will be easier to work with. Your orchardist will tell you which variety is best for eating out of hand, canning or making jams and pies.

Peach melba frosé

Vanilla beans are so expensive that I don’t waste anything. After scraping the seeds out of the pod, I save the pod to use as a skewer for garnishes. After it dries it is hard and firm.
Frosé, frozen rosé wine, is the popular drink this summer. This one is refreshing and low alcohol with no added sugar, perfect for a hot day by the lake.

  • 1 bottle of rosé wine, chilled 750 mL
  • 1 lb. peaches, sliced and frozen 500 g
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice 15 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla bean paste or the seeds from 1/2 a vanilla bean 2 mL
  • 8 oz. fresh raspberries, frozen 225 g

In a powerful blender, add the rosé, frozen peach slices, lemon juice and vanilla paste.
Pureé until completely smooth.
Pour three cups of the purée into a measuring cup and place in the freezer while you make the raspberry portion.
Add the raspberries to the remaining purée in the blender. Purée until completely smooth. Pour the purée into a measuring cup and place in the freezer.

Freeze both purées for an hour, or until they are firm but still can be poured. Chill the glasses you will be serving this in.
Assemble the frosés by alternately pouring the peach and raspberry frosés into chilled glasses. Garnish with fresh raspberries and a wedge of freshly sliced peach.

Peach cucumber salsa

    • 1 c. each coarsely chopped cucumber, red onion, peach and tomato 250 mL
    • 2 tbsp. lime juice 30 mL
    • 1/4 tsp. each sugar, salt and cayenne 1 mL
    • 2 tbsp. coarsely chopped fresh cilantro, parsley or mint 30 mL

In bowl, toss together cucumber, onion, tomato, lime juice, sugar, salt and cayenne. Stir in herbs. Serve as a salad or a salsa.

Rye whiskey peach barbecue sauce

This is a great all-purpose barbecue sauce. Its subtle sweetness pairs well with pork or chicken. Do as I have and make a pulled-pork taco with a corn tortilla. Top the taco with peach cucumber salsa.

This barbecue sauce can be processed in a water bath canner.
Pour hot sauce into 250 or 500 mL (one or two cup) jars.
Fill to 1/2 inch (1 cm) headspace. Wipe rims. Apply two piece lids, finger tighten and process in boiling water bath that is at least one inch (2.5 cm) over the top of the jars for 20 minutes. Remove from canner and cool for 24 hours. Test the seal and store in a cold room until used. Any unsealed jars should be refrigerated until used.

      • 1 medium onion, diced
      • 2 tbsp. olive oil 30 mL
      • 1 tbsp. sweet paprika 15 mL
      • 1 tbsp. chili powder 15 mL
      • 1 tsp. garlic powder 5 mL
      • 1/2 tsp. cumin powder 5 mL
      • 1/2 tsp. coriander 2 mL
      • 2/3 c. apple cider vinegar 150 mL
      • 2/3 c. ketchup 150 mL
      • 1/3 c. Worcestershire sauce 75 mL
      • 2 oz. aged rye whiskey 60 mL
      • 3 ripe peaches, pitted and chopped into rough chunks

Saute onion in oil until tender. Add the remainder of the ingredients and simmer until the peaches are tender. Cool and then purée in a blender. If the sauce is not as thick as you like it, put it back in the pan and simmer until desired thickness is achieved.
To serve with pulled pork, add sauce directly to the pulled pork, to taste, and serve on a bun with coleslaw or in a taco using a corn tortilla, or slather the sauce on barbecued chicken wings.

Easy pulled pork

      • 3 lb. pork shoulderroast 1.5 kg
      • 1 tbsp. ground cumin 15 mL
      • 1 tbsp. black pepper 15 mL
      • 1 tbsp. kosher salt 15 mL
      • 2 tbsp. oil such as canola or olive 30 mL

Rub the roast with oil and generously season with the salt, pepper and cumin. Place in a roasting pan that has a lid.
Roast at 300 F (150 C) for a half hour without the lid then three to four hours with the lid on. Roast until pull apart tender.
Remove from the oven and cool for half an hour. With two forks pull apart the meat into coarse shreds. Add the barbecue sauce while it is still warm.
Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to two days. Reheat to serve.

Sarah Galvin is a home economist, teacher and farmers’ market vendor at Swift Current, Sask., and a member of Team Resources. She writes a blog at allourfingersinthepie.blogspot.ca. Contact: team@producer.com.

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