(NC) - Does the thought of peeling a basket of peaches stop you from making your favourite peach pie? Here are no-fail tips to make preparing tender fruit for your friends and family a breeze.
Peeling: Dip peaches in boiling water for 60 seconds, then place in ice water. Peel the skins with your hands or paring knife. Or, try a new serrated peeler, they work like a charm. To prevent sliced peaches and pears from browning, mix with lemon juice or fruit preserve (i.e. FruitFresh).
Slicing: Follow the seam (from stem to base) of the peach or plum, twist and remove the pit.
Coring: To core a pear, cut in half from stem to base. Use a spoon or melon-baller to remove the seeds.
Freezing: Peel, pit and slice peaches. Add 1/2 cup (125 mL) granulated sugar and 1/4 tsp (1 mL) fruit preservative to every 4 cups (1 L) of sliced peaches. Pack tightly into plastic containers, leaving 1-inch (2.5-cm) air space at top. Top with a crumpled sheet of wax paper and seal tightly. Frozen peaches can be stored for up to one year.
Grilling: Place Ontario peaches, plums and pears on grill to sweat out the fruits natural sugars, consequently intensifying flavour. To prevent fruits from sticking to the grill, lightly baste with a vegetable oil cooking spray or canola oil - olive oil may overshadow fruit flavours. Heat both sides of fruit on a medium flame, until grill marks are visible.
Preserving: Air-tight lids are crucial to the success of your batch. Made from various metals, the stainless lids work best because they are rust proof.