Peaches, is there anything more wonderful that a fresh juicy peach right off of the tree. Well maybe a bushel of fresh picked peaches right off the tree.
Basically there are two types of peaches, the cling stone and the freestone. Like what the name indicates, the stone or the pit of the free-stone does not stick to the flesh and is easily removed. The cling-stone has a stone that is not easily removed. The free stones are probably more popular especially if you are canning or cooking with them. Their are innumerable varieties, the ones I am most familiar with are the Hale, Alberta, Red Haven.
The peach skins when bought at a stand are usually fuzzy, hence the term peach fuzz. The fuzz is easily removed with washing. If the peach is ripe the skin will come off easily. For canning and baking the peach can be placed in a hot water bath for 30 seconds and then placed in a cold water bath to make removing the skin easier. They slice easily once peeled. I like to place the round side in my palm and make 6-8 slices using a small paring knife. My mom canned bushels and bushels of peaches when I was growing up. The canned peaches are delicious during the cold winter months.
Depending on the region that you live in will determine what is available. What you buy is a personal preference and what is available nearest you. Peaches should be round and firm yet give a bit when gently squeezed. They should smell strongly of peaches and make your mouth water. When you bite in them the juice should burst in your mouth and run down your chin. I never buy peaches in the grocery store, I always wait until they are at the grove stands. Having a back yard tree is the best option.
There are so many things to do with peaches, jam, cobbler, pie, in a bowl covered with cream and honey, waffles, muffins, torte, ice cream and of course just eating them. They can be easily canned to keep the wonderful peach season lasting all year long. Peaches can be baked with cinnamon to enhance the sweet flavor. They also go well when mixed with berries. Here are a couple of delicious peach recipes.