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California Tree Fruit

Contributed by: Chris WebAdmin. of RecipesNow.com

Fresh facts you should know.

California is the largest grower of peaches in North America. Peaches are shipped to Canadian supermarkets mature but not quite ripe. To enjoy ripe peaches place them in a paper bag on the counter away from direct sunlight. Check the fruit daily. Within one to three days your peaches should be soft and juicy. Once ripe enjoy their sweet taste right away or store them in the refrigerator where they will last for several days.

The refrigerator is no place to store unripe peaches, nectarines and plums. These fruit contain a ripening enzyme that won' t work at refrigerator temperatures. Fruit growers recommend you ripen their fruit in a paper bag on the counter. Check the fruit daily. They should be soft and juicy within one to three days. Once the fruit is ripe it' s then all right to put them in the refrigerator.

Don't leave unripe fruit such as peaches, plums and nectarines on the window sill. Temperatures above 25 C can actually slow the ripening process and can leave these fruit mushy or shriveled. If your fruit is not quite ripe, place them in an ordinary paper bag on the counter away from direct sunlight. Check the fruit daily. Within one to three days the fruit should be soft and juicy.

Contrary to popular belief a nectarine is not a ' fuzzless' peach. Although these two fruits differ merely by two recessive genes, they are two distinctive fruits in terms of their flavour, aroma and appearance. One medium nectarine provides 75 Calories, and 2.2 g dietary fibre. It is a source of vitamins A and C, and is sodium free.

The red or bright orange blush on a peach or nectarine is caused by exposure of the fruit to sunlight. While this lends a more appealing look to the fruit, it is NOT an indication of ripeness or maturity. Blush may cover anywhere from 10 percent to 100 percent of the fruit surface depending on the variety. The fruit is ripe when the background colour is creamy yellow and not green.

White flesh peaches and nectarines are now being marketed from California. Many decades ago most peach and nectarine varieties were white flesh but they were eliminated in favour of the easier to ship yellow-flesh varieties. Today new breeding and handling techniques have allowed white-flesh varieties to make a huge comeback. 'Summerwhite' is the name coined for the white flesh fruit coming from California.

Peaches, nectarines and plums from California reach Canada within three to five days after harvest. These fruit are picked and shipped when they are mature but firm. Tree fruit will ripen at home by placing them in a loosely closed paper bag on the counter for one to three days.

Summerwhite peaches and nectarines - a new taste sensation

There's a new variety of fruit at supermarkets this summer. White-fleshed peaches and nectarines, also called Summerwhite, are making a comeback. This variety was popular more than 30 years ago but was eliminated in favour of the easier to ship yellow-flesh varieties. Today, thanks to new breeding and handling techniques, more than ten percent of the total California peach and nectarine crop are now Summerwhite fruit and this figure continues to grow as more trees mature.

The California Tree Fruit Agreement which represents California growers of peaches, nectarines and plums, has coined the word Summerwhite to use as a blanket term for all white-flesh peach and nectarine varieties.

Summerwhite fruit are pale in colour, but don't let their appearance fool you. They are often sweeter with an extraordinary flavour thanks to the acid and sugar levels of the fruit. The overall acid content of Summerwhite peaches and nectarines tends to be lower than yellow-flesh varieties with some white-flesh fruit having very little acid at all. Because there is little acid to get in the way of the sugars, the fruit tastes sweeter.

When selecting Summerwhite fruit look for skin with a creamy background and no hint of green. The skin will be pale with strokes of fluorescent pink. Like traditional peaches and nectarines the amount of red or pink on the skin will differ with each variety but has no bearing on the ripeness.

At home Summerwhite peaches and nectarines ripen much quicker than the yellow-flesh varieties. If placed in a paper bag, this white-flesh fruit ripen twice as fast ­ in about a day. It' s important to check the ripening bag often to check for softness.

Summerwhite peaches and nectarines taste great eaten out of hand. Their flesh is pink or whitish with bright pink radiating from the centre or pit. Use them in any recipe that calls for uncooked fruit. They provide a uniquely sweet burst of fruit flavour and aroma and are great tossed in a salad or sliced over ice cream.

Take care when using Summerwhite peaches and nectarines in cooked recipes. They have a tendency to fall apart when heated. When a recipe calls for poaching, Summerwhite fruit need to be gently warmed and not cooked through. Rather than sauté or stew the fruit they only require a gentle toss in the pan over low to medium heat to add a warm zesty sweetness to vegetables and meat or to a rich dessert.

It is not recommended to home can Summerwhite peaches and nectarines.


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