GTPulse: The End of Peach Season
Peaches are one of the tastiest and most inconvenient fruit. There are a few things I don’t love about peaches. One – there is no casual way to bite into a ripe peach. The juice is instantly running down your neck and into your finger creases. It’s sticky, and now you need a napkin. Two, if they’re not ripe they don’t taste great. Three, they’re a highly sexualized fruit. Like eggplants, bananas and cucumbers before them, they’ve taken on dual meaning and by now you’ve probably seen a peach emoji in reference to something else a couple of times. These perfectly butt-shaped, beautiful fruit are going out of season soon, and inconvenient or not, I’m going to bask in a peachy glow and stock up.
Farmer White’s in Williamsburg, Michigan are going to miss peach season too. They’ve been selling out of them at farmers’ markets since they came into season in July. Michigan’s peach season is coming to an end, and with a variety of peaches still available locally, freezing, canning, or just enjoying before they run out is the perfect way to enjoy the end of summer.
Tim Cooper has carefully looked after his block of peaches. Straying from the temptation of just growing Red Haven peaches, he has multiple varieties of peaches, and this summer was their proving ground.
“It’s a lot of different kinds,” he laughed. “I have a small peach block with a lot of varieties we’re just trying out. We don’t know how they were going to taste or what they’re going to look like. So we planted 15 or 20 trees of this and that variety, trying to figure out if we like it or if we don’t like it.”
Factors that determine if a peach variety are naturally if it tastes good or not, but also factors like how much fruit the tree will produce, and when it ripens.
“I do like the Reliance peach it’s good. It comes on later. Problem with that is, it might come on too late and I can’t really sell it at a certain point. It’s a good peach overall though.”
Varieties of peaches can work well for different uses. Here are some that were grown at Farmer White’s this season.
Red Haven: The darling of the peach world. You see her at the grocery store, farm markets, everywhere. This most popular peach is juicy with vibrant orange skin and a rich yellow inside. They’re juicy and their red centers cling to the pit a bit when cutting them away. These are good on their own, in fruit salad, or with a dusting of cinnamon.
John Boy: Huge peach, with a slightly paler orange outside than the Red Haven, this peach has a very firm, pale yellow center. It tastes like biting into an apple. It cuts away cleanly from the pit and is crunchy to eat almost. Because of their size, they’d work great for canning or baking.
White Peach: Who knew? Not I. White peaches exist, and as their name suggests, when you cut into this peach it’s white with a lacy red edge where the skin meets the pit. These little peaches used to be tossed out by farmers, dubbed as duds because of their pale and quick to bruise skin. It wasn’t until the ‘80s that farmers began to hang on to them. They have a mild, sweeter taste than traditional peaches. Not very hardy, they’re best to enjoy on their own.
Autumn Glo: Deep red with a slightly green background, these large peaches can be confusing. How do they get that big without being ripe? Their slightly green and golden exterior can be confusing, but don’t let it fool you. These flavorful peaches can do it all and are great for eating, baking, canning, and freezing.
White Donut: Or flat peach. These little donut-shaped peaches are a dream brought to life. Where have these been, how did I not know these existed? These tiny beauties are pale on the outside, and positively sweet and delicious on the inside. They’re perfectly handheld too, with each one being only a few bites, they’re a perfect snack. Apparently some supermarkets package them in a box like bakers donuts and market them as a healthier “sweet alternative.”
I personally want to make something crunchy. My grandma used to make this baked peach casserole that was just peaches. Cinnamon, and some kind of crunchy and sweet oat topping. Does that sound familiar? I’ll have to find out what that was because with some vanilla bean ice cream it was a favorite among me and my brothers. What will you do with the end of the peach season? Catch the sunset-colored fruit at farm markets and stands throughout the rest of the month.
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