Happy Friday! Hope you’re sipping on an ice cold lemonade and keeping as cool as you can.
Today we’ll answer a frequently asked question about peaches, that favorite summertime stone fruit: What are freestone and clingstone peaches?
Freestone peaches are varieties whose pits slip away easily from the flesh. They require a longer growing season and are prized by home canners because they’re so easy to prepare for preserving. They are typically a little larger than clingstone, with a slightly less juicy flesh.
Clingstone peaches have pits that literally cling to their flesh. They require more growing days but, due to their juiciness and sweetness, they’re typically used for commercial processing, such as canning and baby food. Their flesh tends to hold up to the hot temperatures of processing, too.
Early varieties usually have a split pit because they develop so quickly. Redhaven is a prized variety — it’s a semi-freestone, meaning the pit kind of clings but kind of doesn’t. Sunhigh is a favorite freestone in our region.
And of course, we have white peaches — less acidic than their yellow counterparts, making them especially nice for eating out of hand — donut (aka saturn) peaches, and white and yellow nectarines. We’ll have peaches and nectarines into September, so you’ll have plenty of time to play with them in your own kitchens.
One of our market employees made a killer peach and tomato salsa with chopped peaches, tomatoes, a little sweet onion, salt, red pepper flakes, and mint. And on the suggestion of a customer, that same employee is infusing a bottle of bourbon with the last of her peaches this very second. (It’ll be added to maple syrup-sweetened iced tea later tonight. Sign us up!)
Other peachy recipes we have our eyes on this week: Buttermilk Sheet Cake With Peaches and Blueberries, Crêpes With Grilled Peaches and Apricots, this Peach Oat Smoothie, this peach pie, this Nectarine and Fennel Salad. We’ll pick up some more peaches this weekend and make something worth blogging about — with pictures and everything! — for the next post. (Looking at you, Peach Sorbet from Fany Gerson’s book Mexican Ice Cream!!!)
Have you made anything you want to brag about? Share in the comments or tell us at the market.
Shopping tip: As we’re sorting through our peaches and nectarines at the market, we occasionally come across fruits that are a little bruised or soft in spots. They’re not bad, just a little worn and need to be used within a day or so. We call these seconds, and we’ll set them aside in containers near the register to sell for a huge discount. If you’re looking for fruit to freeze, jam, bake, or eat right away, we’d encourage you to ask for seconds. (We typically have more seconds available a few hours into the market day.)
Here’s what’s in store for this weekend. We encourage you to come early to have your pick of the best produce. If you arrive shortly before the opening of any of our markets, you can bag your goods ahead of time so that we can get you sorted and on your way as soon as the opening bell tolls. See you there, and stay hydrated out there!
Peaches (white and yellow)
Cherries (pending conditions)
Raspberries (red and black)
Currants (red and black)
Apples (Earligold, Pristine, Zestar)