Do you love peaches? The first peaches of the season are Flamin’ Fury® PF1 Peaches. And while were on the subject of the Prunus genus, don’t forget to take advantage of any cherries that we have on hand. In fact, Black Gold Cherries should still be coming in from the orchard. Another favorite in the Prunus genus will be available soon. Can you guess what it is? If you said plum, you’re right! In fact, our first variety of plum, the Methley, should be available in the first week of July. And once July comes, it’s plums and peaches all over the place!
What are some unique features of the fruit I’ve these succulent fruits? I scoured around and found a little info about them, but most of it comes from Clair Kauffman, our orchard manager.
Flamin’ Fury® PF1 Peach: Paul Friday, the developer of the Flamin' Fury® peach series, says that the PF1s are hardy, juicy, sweet, and have fewer split pits than most early varieties. Here’s Clair’s take, “Since early peaches are clingstone, they have a few unique characteristics. Most notably, that the flesh sticks to the pit. Also, the flesh tends to not have a consistent firmness. When ripe, they are soft around the outside but still firm closer to the pit. An easy way to cut them from the pit is to cut wedges out of the peach. A half peach is nearly impossible to remove from the pit, but a wedge breaks away relatively easily. Of course, my first preference is to eat them right out of hand and "eat around the pit"--al fresco, in the sunshine with the juice dripping to the grass, around my bare feet. Another way I really enjoy early peaches is skinned, diced, and tossed with strawberries or raspberries (option: drizzle with maple syrup). Early peaches do not have the depth of flavor or sweetness of late season peaches because they have not had as much time to synthesize sugars from sunlight. However, our early peach, Rich May, seems to defy this and packs a real punch for an early season peach. They also have a redder flesh, so I call them the "blood orange of peaches." Finally, always allow the peaches to ripen and soften for optimal flavor and texture.” And speaking of peaches, be on the lookout for some yummy recipes in the first week of July!
Black Gold Cherries: Here’s Clair, “To me, there really is only one way to eat dark sweet cherries-- fresh, out of hand, and again, al fresco so I can spit the pits in the grass. During cherry season, I can almost make a meal of sweet cherries and a glass of cold milk.” And here’s RH Shumway’s thoughts, “If you have room for only one sweet cherry tree, this is it. It's self-fertile and tolerant to frost. One of the most dependable for colder areas. Trees yield big crops of large, firm, black-red, very flavorful fruits that resist cracking. Blooms later to avoid a late freeze. Ripens in July. Cornell University introduction. Standard size trees will reach about 25 ft. at maturity. Begins bearing in 3 to 4 years. Zones: 5-7”
Methley Plum: According to the Arbor Day Foundation’s profile of the Methley Plum, “the fruit is juicy, sweet and mild with a distinctive flavor—good for fresh eating or jelly.” Again, here’s Clair, “Methley plums are at their very best when eaten ‘dead ripe.’ Some fruits, when picked firm, still develop sugar as they ripen after harvest. Methley Plums, aka "sugar plums," are one of these fruits. Resist the urge to eat them firm and your patience will be rewarded. Let them ripen until they are very soft. Since they are a small plum, you can simply pop the entire plum in your mouth and ‘spit out the seed’ as you would a sweet cherry.” Thanks, Clair! Be looking for a post dedicated to plums (we’ve got a number of other types coming later this season) and some truly creative recipes, the second week of July.
And here’s just a little follow up from a previous “Peach Post” entitled Look Outside! Are the Peach Trees Blooming?
If you missed it, here’s some important information you’ll want as you shop our peaches:
What makes a peach juicy?
Warm weather and tree-ripened harvest are the key contributors to juicy peaches.
Which is the best peach?
For some, a peach is a peach and there is no "best" peach. Many factors (see first FAQ) affect the making of a good peach. The most significant factor is your personal taste and preference. Here at Kauffman's, we aim to please, so don't hesitate to ask us questions or ask for a sample of a peach on display. We will do our best to help you. Virtually any of the fifty varieties of yellow-fleshed peaches we grow are finely suited for canning. However, Red Haven is the landslide favorite of our customer base. White-fleshed peaches are not as popular for canning because they brown significantly after they are peeled.
How can I help my peaches ripen properly?
Most of the peaches you buy here will require 2-3 days to ripen. Spread them out in a single layer at room temperature and use them as they ripen (it's not likely that they'll all ripen at the same time.) For smaller quantities, store them at room temperature in a paper bag until they ripen.
How many quarts of canned or frozen peaches can I expect from a half-bushel basket of fresh peaches?10-12 quarts.
What makes a peach freestone (have a removable pit)?
In a word, weather. Early varieties are always clingstone. Usually, the gradual change between freestone and clingstone occurs after the first picking of Red Haven, but every year is different. Babygold, an exception to the rule, is a mid-season peach that is always clingstone.
What's the difference between yellow and white peaches?
First, it's more properly a "yellow-flesh" or "white-flesh" peach, as no peach actually has yellow or white skin. But to answer the question, most peaches have the yellow flesh that most people expect a peach to have; these varieties generally are used for canning and freezing because they keep their texture and color. White-fleshed peaches are much more mild and soft; therefore, while they make absolutely wonderful snacks, white-fleshed peaches are not nearly as suitable for canning and freezing.