Alex Eats: Fresh Peaches

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Every week, Alex Guarnaschelli, host of Alex's Day Off , shares with readers what she's eating -- whether it's from the farmers' market or fresh off the boat, she'll have you craving everything from comfort food to seasonal produce.

What is it about a peach that is so seductive? They look so juicy to me. When I see them in any market, they shout to me, “Hello! Over here. Dig in!”

But how do you pick out a good one?

1. Don’t be seduced by the brilliant red color that covers a large part of the fruit. That will change from variety to variety of peach. It is actually the yellow or white areas where you should seek a rich color. A deep yellow hue tells the story of a good peach.

2. Check around the stem area. There should be no green. Green in this area means, in most cases, that the peach was picked before it was ripe.

3. By all means, gently press the fruit with one finger to get an idea of the texture. You should be able to feel that “mealy” fruit flesh -- they should also be firm but, ideally, “give” a little, as well.

4. If you are not planning on using your peaches the same day you buy them, place them in a closed paper bag at room temperature. This will allow them to continue ripening and stay at a good temperature until you are ready to use.

5. Avoid peaches that are visibly bruised or that have soft spots.

A note from Alex:

I have put peaches through this test of standards only to bring them home, cut them open, and find they are mushy or mealy. If that’s the case:

  • Roast or grill them in wedges and glaze them with some warmed apricot or peach jam and a squirt of fresh lemon juice.
  • Sauté them with a splash of white wine and boiled honey. Any flavor combo where there is a splash of acidity -- lemon juice, vinegar, wine -- and an additional sweetener -– sugar, honey, agave -- and your peach recipe will be a winner.
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