Peaches: Part I

Peaches: Part I

It’s peach season! There’s not too much I enjoy more than peach cobbler in the fall. Those flaky layers of dough married with the sweetness of peaches picked at the perfect time of ripeness will make your taste-buds sing. This will be a two-part post on peaches, specifically cobbler, a staple in my family’s kitchen. Take these steps to get the perfect peach cobbler for your family and friends to enjoy. Let’s get started.

The most important part of peach cobbler is, you guessed it, the peaches! I’ve seen some take the easy route and use canned peaches when freshly picked aren’t anywhere to be found. But, once you go fresh-picked, you’ll never go back.

First, find your nearest peach orchard. Since we’re in Chicago, I visited the Apple Holler orchard in Sturtevant, WI. They have great peaches that you can pick with your family and friends. Masks are required here, so be prepared if you decide to visit this particular orchard.

Next, be sure your peaches are ripe. They should have some give when pressed gently by hand, but if they’re too soft, that is a sign of an over-ripe peach – you won’t enjoy a peach in this state. Ripe peaches are prone to bruises, so handle the fruit delicately. If the peaches have some hardness to them after picking, you can store them at room temperature in a paper bag to ripen them. Check them each day as peaches can ripen pretty quickly.

Now, you’ll need a large pot of water to parboil your peaches, but before that, slice an x with a sharp knife on the bottom of the peach. This will help in peeling after you parboil the peaches to loosen the skin to make it easy to peel. Once the peaches have been prepped for boiling, place in the boiling water and set your cooking timer to 30 seconds and remove the batch after the time has passed and place on a plate.

Peel each peach. The skin should easily come off without removal of the flesh. If you have some resistance, place the resistant peaches in the boiling water for another 10 seconds and remove. The key is not to cook the peach, but to heat the skin so that it is easy to peel. We want to save our fresh peaches until they’re ready to bake.

Once all peaches are peeled, slice them in roughly ½ inch pieces and place each in a quart-sized freezer bag and store in the freezer until ready for baking. It’s also okay if each piece isn’t perfectly sliced; after all, our end goal is a creamy cobbler with a nice texture. Bag your peaches in a quart-sized freezer bag and be sure to remove as much air as possible from the bag and place them flat in the freezer. Stay tuned for Building Chicago’s next food post as I’ll describe how to make the perfect peach cobbler. Enjoy home, builders!

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First step: Peaches.

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Slice an X on the Peach and Start to Boil Water.

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Boil the Peaches for 30 Seconds and Peel.

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Slice.

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Bag, Flatten and Freeze. Hard Part’s Over.

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