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Back to Basics / Peaches

September 19, 1996|JOAN DRAKE

With fresh peach season winding down, there's no time to lose if you want to savor the last of this summer fruit. One last shortcake, a pie or tart, some ice cream or perhaps a crisp.

When selecting peaches, remember that a red blush on the skin is not a guarantee of quality. Choose fruit with a creamy or yellow background.

Ripe peaches give to gentle palm pressure. Fruit that is firm can be ripened at room temperature in a loosely closed paper bag. Once ripe, peaches will hold in the refrigerator three to four days.

The flesh of late-season freestone varieties comes away easily from their pits, but you need to peel the fruit for most recipes. Once the skin is removed, to retain color, dip the peaches into citrus juice or sprinkle with commercial ascorbic acid.

These equivalents will help you estimate the amount of fruit needed for a recipe:

1 pound of peaches equals:

2 large, 3 medium or 4 small

1 1/2 to 2 cups sliced

2 to 2 1/2 cups diced

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