It works Further I must admit that although I have yet to cross a national border just to enjoy a peach, I have crossed city, county and state lines in pursuit of peach excellence. I have transported peaches in cars, trains, planes and baskets balanced on bicycles. I have had peaches ripening on shelves and windowsills in every state that I have lived in, and several European countries where I lived and visited. If you have ever gotten that notice in a small Parisian hotel about not having food in your room, it may be because I spent a week there in peach season and may have inadvertently left one or two as I rushed to pack and catch a plane or train. And I will not cast any vote on where the best peaches are grown, as I have often proven that the best peaches are enjoyed in season, with proper ripening, both on and off the tree!
Many an employee and colleague has been mystified by my insistence that the peaches be removed from piles and placed gently in a soft bed of paper or cloth towels. Now some shippers understand my concern, and ship the peaches in boxes where each peach has its own little nest of straw-like paper, keeping them from jostling and bruising during transport. These often are the more upscale shippers, but I have seen such techniques used in some “big box” stores; and yes when the peaches are good, I have bought them there. Imagine walking into such a place and smelling peaches from 30 feet away, and finding some of the best white peaches and nectarines of that season.
Amazing but true! And especially important for the white peaches, as they have been known to bruise if you look at them cross eyed.
A good white peach is, to me, a spiritual experience; less acidic than its yellow cousins, with a much more aromatic flavor. Incredible.
So farewell peach season, I know you will come again next year, and I will wait, impatiently, until I can buy the first peaches of the season, let them ripen and enjoy them...And I hope the stash in the freezer does not run out, or the power does not go out so long that I have to eat them all at once, and then have nothing left for winter...except maybe a February peach pilgrimage to Chile or Argentina?
A recipe for Peach Chutney that goes really well with pork, chicken, fish, cheese, or heck, just on a spoon with some cream cheese! It works just fine with those peaches that I just know you have stashed in your freezer.
GINGER PEACH CHUTNEY
2 lg peaches
3 TB peeled and diced onion
3 TB diced finely red bell pepper,
2 TB diced finely green onions
3 TB sliced pickled ginger
3 TB diced sugar rice vinegar
Mix all ingredients and allow to marinate overnight in the refrigerator. The chutney can be made spicy with the addition of either pepper sauce or jalapenos.
Chef Franklin Biggs writes about food for Birmingham Weekly. Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org