Picking the Perfect Peach
Use freestone peaches when recipes require uniform slices, and use clingstone when recipes require diced or pureed peaches.
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What's the difference between freestone and clingstone peaches? Freestones - sold in grocery stores and at produce stands during the summer - separate easily from the pit while clingstone peaches tend to be a bit more attached. Another noticeable difference: freestone peaches often have touches of red in the flesh around the pit. Almost all clings are processed.
Which do you use when cooking? Use freestone peaches when recipes require uniform slices. Use clingstone when recipes require diced or pureed peaches. Cling peaches can be used off-season in recipes that call for fresh peaches.
There are more than 200 varieties of peaches.
To ripen firm peaches: Place fruit in a paper bag, fold the top over loosely and keep at room temperature for one to three days. Check the fruit daily. Never use a plastic bag; it may cause decay and can produce off-flavors. Once soft or ripe, it can be stored in the refrigerator for a week or more. Do not place firm or unripe fruit in the refrigerator as that may inhibit ripening and cause fruit to become dry, mealy and flavorless.
---California Tree Fruit Agreement and California Cling Peach Board
Peaches and Cream Muffins
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 cups chopped fresh peaches (frozen peaches - thawed - may be used out of season)
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon (optional)
In a bowl, beat eggs; add sour cream and vegetable oil. In another bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir in egg mixture just until moistened. Fold in fresh peaches. Fill greased or paper muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until muffins test done. Cool for five minutes before removing from the pan. Serve warm with creamy butter. Muffins keep well in freezer and may be reheated in oven or microwave.
---Kay Hinchman of Ceres, Calif.
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