This week the CSA members who have Fruit Shares will be getting peaches from our friends the Western Slope this week. We will probably have several more weeks of peaches in the Fruit Share so I wanted to have a little chat about the peaches you get and how to handle, and keep them at their best.
The peaches we get are picked ripe off the tree. They are hand picked and handled very gingerly and packed in padded boxes so they won’t be bruised.
We weigh them and very carefully put them in paper bags for distribution to you. Usually Lauren is the only one who will handle and weigh peaches. Sometimes I might, and if Lauren is busy she will carefully train one person to do this job. We treat the peaches like we would eggs. We don’t bang them or crowd them, or stack them more than two high. We only move one box of peaches at a time and don’t shove or throw the boxes in the truck.
I don’t think there is any other fruit or vegetable on the farm that is as coddled like the peaches you get from us. A little piece of our heart breaks off and dies when we see CSA members shove a bag of peaches in a tote bag and then put the CSA vegetables on top of the peaches…it happens every now and then and we are very sad when it does. :(
OK. So, now you have your peaches. If they are still a little firm for your liking they might benefit from spending a night or two on your counter. You want set them on the counter, or in a paper bag with their shoulders down like this. Preferably not touching if you have room.
See the little bump on the top of the peach in front? That is the blossom end, the stem end is where the shoulders are and fruit (i.e.peaches and tomatoes) ripen best with their shoulders down. Here is another picture of a peach showing the stem end, the second peach. The front peach is blossom end up and how you want to store yours.
The peaches are picked ripe, but peaches continue to ripen after they are picked so you need to decide if you want yours ripened more. If I am grilling peaches I might leave them a little firm. If I am eating them fresh I like them a little softer and leave them out for a day or two.
To determine ripeness I hold my peach in the palm of my hand and gently close my hand around the peach. Don’t press your finger into the peach or you will bruise it. You can feel with your whole hand if the peach flesh gives a little, or not.
You can keep peaches in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days, not long I know. Put them in a plastic bag and store them on their shoulders if you have enough room.
If you can’t use your peaches in the 3 to 5 days you can freeze them. They freeze beautifully.
I’ll try to add a few peach recipe ideas in the next week or so to help you use up your bounty.