Peaches are sweet, juicy, and delicious. Weight-watching?— 1 Medium peach = 37 calories. Source of Vitamin A and potassium. If left unpeeled, they are a good source of fiber too.
Select peaches which are fairly firm or slightly soft. The skin color around the deep red areas should be light yellow with a creamy tint. The deep red color, or blush, will vary according to variety and is not a good indication of ripeness. Avoid green or greenish-tinged fruits and any that are hard, dull, or bruised. When planning to preserve peaches, choose those which are ripe and of ideal eating quality.
Peaches bruise easily so you should handle them with care. A bruised spot can quickly become a decayed spot. You should store peaches promptly. For the ripe ones, you should also refrigerate them until they are ready for use. You can keep firm, ripe peaches in the refrigerator in good condition for 7-10 days. However, you can keep them at room temperature to ripen and then refrigerate them later for a shorter time. When refrigerated, peaches should never be piled more than one layer deep in trays, as they may become bruised.
Fresh peaches should never be transported in the trunk of an automobile. The heat from the exhaust invites overheating of the fruit and decay. Always transport fresh peaches in the passenger compartment.
Gently wash peaches in cold water and place on a paper towel to dry. To peel easily, place in a colander and pour boiling water over them for 30 seconds. Dip immediately into ice water. Thin skin will loosen and can be easily peeled.
Fresh peaches are a popular dessert. They can be served alone or with other fruit. Slice peaches the night before for a breakfast treat. To keep them fresh and bright, mix a little ascorbic acid powder with sugar for sweetening.
Baked or broiled peaches are excellent with meats. Peaches give that dressed-up look to the meat platter as well as adding zest and flavor all their own.
Peaches are great served with in fruit cups, used in custards, puddings, pies, cobblers, shortcakes, and ice cream.
Peaches, halved and topped with berries and cream, make a perfect addition to summertime menus.
Fill fresh peach halves with cream or cottage cheese, raisins, and chopped nuts.
Serve peach slices with melon slices, grapes, and strawberries for a refreshing fruit tray to perk up hot weather appetites.
Select well-ripened fruit and handle carefully to avoid bruising. Sort and wash peaches in cold water. Drain. Peel and halve or slice. To avoid darkening, a dusting of ascorbic acid may be added to the cut fruit.
For syrup pack
Prepare 30% heavy syrup:
Mix 2 cups sugar with 1 quart water.
40% heavy syrup:
Mix 3 cups sugar with 1 quart water. Package peaches tightly in freezer containers, leaving a head-space of ½ inch for pints and 1 inch for quarts. Pour syrup over fruit. To keep fruit under liquid, place a small piece of crum-pled waxed paper on top and press fruit down into liquid. Seal containers and label them with the name of the product and the date. Freeze promptly. Store at 0°F or below.
For Sugar Pack: To each quart (1½ pounds) of prepared fruit add ⅔ cups sugar. Add ¼ teaspoon ascorbic acid dissolved in 3 tablespoons cold water to prevent darkening. Stir gently until sugar is dissolved or let stand for 15 minutes. Pack into containers, leaving ½–inch headspace. Seal containers and label them with the name of the product and the date. Freeze promptly. Store at 0°F or below.
2 quarts crushed, peeled peaches ½ cup water 6 cups sugar
Sterilize canning jars. Combine peaches and water; cook gently 10 minutes. Add sugar; slowly bring to boiling, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves. Cook rapidly until thick, about 15 minutes; stir fre-quently to prevent sticking. Pour hot jam into hot jars, leaving ¼-inch headspace. Wipe jar rims and adjust lids. Process 5 minutes in a boiling water bath. Recipe makes about eight half-pint jars.
Note: For Spiced Peach Jam, tie the following ingredients in cheesecloth and add to the jam dur-ing cooking: 1 teaspoon whole cloves, ½ teaspoon whole allspice, and a stick of cinnamon (3-inch piece). Remove the spice bag before pouring jam into hot jars. Process 5 minutes in a boiling water bath. Recipe makes about eight half-pint jars.
More instructions for jelly-making, freezing, canning, and pickling vegetables and fruits are available at the following website: www.clemson.edu/hgic.